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Huskies’ women edge Minnesota State, 80-75

MANKATO, Minn. — The Michigan Tech women’s basketball team held on for an 80-75 non-conference win at Minnesota State Monday night.

The Huskies built a 44-24 lead at halftime and stopped at second half charge by the Mavericks to preserve the victory.

“I was really proud of the way our team responded tonight to get a big win on the road,” Michigan Tech head coach Sam Hoyt said. “Coming in having lost three in a row, this was a huge game for us. We had a strong start in the first half and then when we faced some adversity in the second half, it was awesome to see our team pull together to withstand the run that Minnesota State made against us. In the fourth quarter, we made some big shots when we needed to and got some key stops at crucial times. It was key for us to get some momentum going into our home games this weekend against two very good teams in Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota Duluth. I’m excited to be back on our home court in front of our fans.”

Midway through the fourth, the Mavericks (1-1) drew to within one point at 61-60 on two free throws by Tayla Stuttley, but senior Hannah Hobson answered with a basket for Tech on the ensuing possession. Stuttley then answered with a mid-range jumper for Minnesota State only to be countered by a jumper from Ellie Mackay, and then a triple from junior Cassidy Trotter and another mid-range jumper by Mackay to make it a 70-62 score with 1:36 left in the contest.

The game then boiled down to free throw shooting and in the final minute, Baillie McGirk, Abbie Botz, and Mackay combined to go 10 for 10 at the charity stripe to seal the win.

Michigan Tech (2-3) set the tone of the game very early Monday night with a solid stop on defense followed by a triple from senior Botz to get the offense rolling. Sophomore Sloane Zenner scored the next five points for the Huskies to make it an 8-4 score with 8:14 to play on the first quarter clock.

Minnesota State (1-1) prevented Tech from creating more than a two-possession lead through the entirety of the first quarter. The Mavericks slipped in front at 12-11 momentarily when Joey Batt got to the basket for a layup with 5:19 to play in the first. Zenner put the Huskies back on top at 13-12 with a mid-range jumper before a Shea Fuller layup vaulted Minnesota State into the lead again at 14-13.

With 2:36 remaining in the opening quarter, sophomore Mackay sent home one of her five three-point buckets of the night for a 22-16 Tech advantage. Stuttley cut the Huskies lead in half with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, but Tech shutout the Mavericks offense the rest of the way to carry a 22-19 edge into the second period.

The Huskies dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Mavericks 22-5 to build their 44-24 halftime lead. The quarter began with a 6-0 scoring run by Tech, which eventually turned into a double-digit lead at 31-21 on a trey courtesy of McGirk about midway through the second. Leading 34-24 with just over two minutes left in the half, Tech went on to record the final 10 points of the quarter. Mackay kicked started the scoring burst with another three-point basket and just before the buzzer Katelyn Meister capped it with a layup.

The Mavericks did not go quietly and began to chip away at their deficit throughout the third period. Rachel Shumski closed the gap to seven points at 54-47 with 1:19 left in the third before a pair of McGirk free throws made it a nine-point game again at 56-47 in favor of the Huskies going into the fourth quarter.

Mackay powered the Huskies with a career high 25 points followed by Botz with 15 points and a team high nine rebounds. Zenner tossed in 12 points and had eight rebounds with McGirk rounding out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and five rebounds. Trotter chipped in three points and dished out a team high six assists.

The Huskies finished night making 27 of 54 shots from the field (50.0 percent), were 12 of 30 from three-point range (40.0 percent), and a perfect 14 of 14 at the free throw line. Tech produced 20 points in the paint and had 17 points off of 11 Minnesota State turnovers.

The Huskies host Concordia-St. Paul in their home opener at 5 p.m. Friday.

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