Women’s basketball ready for home-opening weekend

Dave Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech’s bench celebrates a teammate’s 3-pointer during a game against St. Norbert earlier this season at the Wood Gym.

HOUGHTON — Huskies women’s basketball coach Sam Hoyt could not be more excited for Friday night to roll around. After a week on the road, Hoyt will be on her home court with her winning team (2-0) as they take on the Minnesota State-Moorhead and then Minnesota State on Sunday in their first official games in the Wood Gym.

“It will be great to be on our home floor with our home fans for the first time,” said the former Husky basketball standout.

Her team is off to a great start and has dominated both victories thus far on the young season.

Last weekend in Big Rapids, at the GLIAC/GMAC Challenge crossover tournament, the Huskies battled Ursuline Friday night and nearly reached the century mark in points with a 96-65 decision. After a close first quarter, Tech pulled away from the Arrows with a 30-13 run in the third.

The Huskies followed up Friday’s win by defeating Davis & Elkins, 75-39, on Saturday afternoon. Tech put the game out of reach early by outscoring the Senators 47-20 in the first 20 minutes.

The Huskies defense forced 22 turnovers and limited the Senators to single-digit point totals in two of the four quarters on Saturday.

“I was happy to see the girls playing hard,” Hoyt said. “Certainly there is a room for growth but they are out there playing so well.”

She was particularly pleased with the play of junior Baillie McGirk. McGirk poured in a career-high 29 points in the game against Ursuline. As well, she knocked down 68.8 percent of her shots (11-16) Friday and combined to convert 61.9 percent of her field goals (13-21) and 66.7 percent of her looks from three-point range (4-6) over the course of two days. McGirk was also a perfect 4 for 4 at the free throw line over the weekend.

For her efforts, McGirk was selected as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week.

As for this weekend’s matchups, MSU-Moorhead is 2-0 coming in. The Dragons tipped off the regular season last weekend as well, defeating Arkansas Tech, 65-51, followed by a 66-55 victory over Pittsburg State in the Central Region Challenge Tournament held in Kansas City, Missouri.

Megan Hintz leads the team in scoring on the strength of a 17.5 points per game scoring average. In addition, she is averaging 12.5 rebounds per game through the first two contests of the year.

Minnesota State is 1-0 on the season after opening the 2018-19 campaign last Friday at home against Waldorf with a 93-66 win.

Emmaline Polson powered the Mavericks with 15 points followed by Taylor Drost with 10 points. Brooke Tonsfeldt fired in eight points and grabbed nine rebounds in the victory.

The two programs will meet for the ninth time Sunday in the SDC. The Mavericks lead the all-time series 5-3, but the Huskies have won three of the last five.

“Both teams are well coached and have big players. We will have our work cut out for us,” said Hoyt.

Tip off Friday is at 6 p.m. against Minnesota State-Mankato. Sunday’s contest is slated to start at 1 p.m. against Minnesota State.