Michigan Tech women pull away for convincing 79-61 win over Wayne State
HOUGHTON — Thursday was an exhibition of how the Michigan Tech women will have to execute come March.
Sophomore Elizabeth Kelliher dominated her defender in the post, scoring a team-high 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting, while junior guard Lindsay Winter scored 14 points as senior Morgan Anderson and junior Kelli Guy each added 11 points from the perimeter for a balanced attack.
Tech’s offensive efficiency led the way in a 79-61 GLIAC win over the Wayne State Warriors at the Wood Gym.
“I thought we moved the ball really well offensively,” Tech head coach Kim Cameron said. “I thought we always found the open person, and our guards did a really good job of getting two, three dribbles in the paint, getting it back out and pounding it in.
“I truly believe that we moved the ball extremely well today. One of the best offensive productions I think our team has had.”
Going inside-out is always a staple of Tech’s game plan and early on, Kelliher executed flawlessly, going 6 of 9 for 13 points in the first half with her arsenal of post moves. Eventually, Wayne State (7-17, 4-13) was forced to bring a double team when she caught it on the block.
“I think I just try to be confident and aggressive early on,” Kelliher said. “Then just knowing that I always have the option to go back out to my guards or have them cutting as well.
“I learned a lot from playing them the first time. We knew that doubling would be a possibility, and I think my guards did a good job of getting me the ball when I had a 1-on-1, or calling that a double was coming so I was able to find the outside people that were open.”
Off a double or a ball rotation, Tech (16-6, 12-5) was able to consistently make Wayne State pay for their double from 3-point range, where the Huskies converted 9 of 19 attempts. Winter and Guy combined to go 7 of 11 from 3.
“It makes my job that much easier when I have people that I can kick it back out to that can make shots,” Kelliher said. “It takes a lot of pressure off.”
Winter continued her strong scoring streak and appears fully recovered from an earlier injury that cost her the first five games of the season. Her 14-point outing is the fifth consecutive game she’s scored in double figures, and she’s averaging 15.4 points per game during that span.
“I think a lot of it is just being aggressive and coming in and knowing what it’s going to take to win,” Winter said about her recent success. “Just driving to the basket, getting people open and making hustle plays — just being active.”
Despite starting 1 of 11 from the field and trailing Tech 14-4, the Warriors managed to hang around for over three quarters. Wayne State freshman Nastassja Chambers, who led the Warriors with 15 points, converted two free throws to cut Tech’s lead to 52-45 with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in the third.
However, Winter closed the third with a driving layup and a 3 for a 60-49 advantage heading into the fourth. Winter continued her scoring spree into the fourth, where she started the quarter with another 3.
Tech eventually built a 73-54 lead on a Kelliher layup as the rout was on with 3:54 remaining.
“(Wayne State) came out in the second half and put a zone on. We didn’t respond the way we should have in that case,” Cameron said. “We need to be aggressive when they go into zone. So we were a little bit back on our heels, and they got some things in transition.
“Once we settled down, got them out of their zone, I thought we were able to control the game.”
Tech finished 33 of 64 from the field (52 percent) and held a 38-32 rebounding advantage.
The Warriors shot 20 of 54 (37 percent).
Next, Tech will host the first-place Saginaw Valley State Cardinals at noon on Saturday. SVSU (19-4, 15-2) edged the Northern Michigan Wildcats (15-9, 10-7) 62-60 on Thursday.
Wayne State 13 14 22 12 — 61
Michigan Tech 21 18 21 19 — 79
Wayne State — Birchmeier 8, Hill 6, Chambers 15, Wilson 7, Williams 4, Ruhstorfer 1, Hood 5, Hawkins 9, Meeks 6. F: 14; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 19-25; 3-point field goals: Birchmeier 2.
Michigan Tech — Kelliher 21, Anderson 11, Guy 11, Winter 14, Heise 4, Stoll 8, Botz 2, LewAllen 1, Hobson 2, McGirk 2, LaFave 3. F: 17; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 4-6; 3-point field goals: Winter 4, Guy 3, Anderson, LaFave.