Tough second half costs Huskies in loss to No. 9 Lakers

HOUGHTON — Things were looking good for the Michigan Tech Huskies women’s basketball team as they bolted out to an 11-4 lead against the No. 9 Grand Valley State Lakers (16-1 overall, 9-0 GLIAC) on Thursday night with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

That was as good is it would get.

At that time, it was if someone turned off the scoring faucet as the Huskies could not find the net again until there was just 2:34 remaining in the second. That was when Ellie Welsh hit a three-pointer to end a more-than-10-minute scoring drought.

It was not enough to spark the host Huskies, who fell to the Lakers, 53-35, in the Wood Gym.

“We need someone to step up and make plays for us offensively when we are not scoring,” said Hoyt, whose team was down by nine points at halftime, 29-20. “I told them at half that they have to get in the mindset that they are all ball scorers.

“That is the truth. Each one of those girls can step up and shoot. But that didn’t happen tonight.”

On the positive side, the Lakers are a Top 10-ranked team and Hoyt was pleased that her squad held them to just 53 points.

“They are such a strong team that flies around and they kept us out of the paint,” said Hoyt. “We just didn’t execute.”

Hoyt added that she was pleased in the way her team handled their big middle, the 6-foot-4 Cassidy Boensch, whom they limited to just 12 points. Unfortunately, that extra attention left the Laker’s power guard, Jenn DeBoer, to fill the gap. She did exactly that, pouring in 27 points.

Boensch used her height advantage to bring in 21 rebounds.

“We are always going to play hard and never give up and that was good to see as we headed into the third and fourth periods,” said Hoyt.

Throughout the night it was one-and-done for the Huskies. They had no second-chance points. Grand Valley State, by comparison, had 13.

In the third, the Huskies scored only six points. In the fourth, they had nine.

The Huskies shot 27 percent from the field while the Lakers did not do much better at 32.7.While neither team was much to look at from the field, Grand Valley was nearly perfect from the free throw line as they shot 16-17 or 94.1 percent.

The Huskies had no one in double figures. Their top shooter of the night was Ellie Mackay who picked up nine points. Elizabeth Kelliher and Cassidy Trotter followed with eight points each. Abbie Botz led on the boards with 11 rebounds.

“Hopefully we can learn from this and grow,” said Hoyt.

The Huskies are right back at it on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. game against Davenport.

“It will be a similar style of play from them,” said Hoyt. “They are going to run a lot of ball screens and different routes and we need to be prepared. We will have to be aggressive offensively.”