A half dozen: Huskies earn sixth straight Saturday

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech’s Ellie Mackay drives around a Saginaw Valley State defender during a game Saturday at the Wood Gym. With the win, 79-54, the Huskies have won sixth in a row.

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies women’s basketball team continued their winning ways on Saturday as they defeated the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals, 79-54, at the Wood Gym.

It was their sixth win in a row, and, in the eyes of coach Sam Hoyt, the team is playing some of their best basketball as their season winds down to their last few games.

“This was a great win for us,” she said. “It was awesome to see us put together a strong fourth quarter to pull away. If we are going to

play any quarter well, might as well make it the fourth.”

Michigan Tech (16-7 overall, 12-3 GLIAC) came out with their shooting caps on. Junior Abbie Botz poured in the first eight points of the game for the Huskies as she shot her way to a career-high 22 points. She had a double-double on the afternoon as she added 17 rebounds.

The closest Saginaw Valley (4-18 overall, 4-11 GLIAC) came was in those first minutes when the Cardinals Maddie Burns hit a three-pointer to make the score 4-3. The Huskies then went on a run to make the score 21-12 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second, the Huskies continued their scoring ways thanks to Botz who put in a layup. Freshman Ellie Mackay pushed the lead to 31-20 with less than five minutes to play.

“Ellie was key in that she hit some big shots that ended some of our scoring droughts,” said Hoyt.

Mackay led the team in three-point scoring as she had five on the afternoon.

“Everyone was making great passes and were looking to each other to score,” said Mackay. “We are really playing together.”

At halftime, the Huskies led 33-27.

In the third, the Huskies continued to put points on the board. They opened with a 7-2 scoring run and dominated the paint thanks to Botz and Elizabeth Kelliher. Kelliher poured in 13 points under the hoop, and as a team the Huskies outscored the Cardinals 40-24 in the paint during the game.

The Cardinals were within six points of tying the Huskies at 50-44 at the start of the fourth. However, they hit a drought of their own and did not score for the first six minutes. Meanwhile the Huskies had no problem scoring as they went on a 17-0 run. In the final 10 minutes, they outscored the Cardinals 29-10 to seal the victory.

The Huskies shot 52.4 percent from the field while the Cardinals shot only 38.5 percent.

Hoyt noted that she was pleased to see her team’s offensive production combined with their defensive stance over these last two games. On Thursday, the Huskies downed Northwood, 70-40, and then had Saturday’s lopsided win. She said that to hold teams in the 40- and 50-point range was impressive.

“I was pleased that our defense stepped up and we were able to take away their three-point opportunities in transition while our offense made some big three-point baskets,” said Hoyt. “It’s exciting to see our offense grow and get better. Increasing our production to 70-79 points this week in these past two games was awesome.”

“Abbie crashed the boards hard, and it was a huge night for her,” said Hoyt. “She was guarding a Division I transfer (Aaliah Hill) and keeping her in front and limiting her scoring,” said Hoyt.

After Botz, Mackay followed in the scoring with 17 points and Kelliher had 13 points.

The next four of five games for the Huskies will be on the road. However, Hoyt is not worried.

“It doesn’t make a difference where we play,” she said. “In fact, we have a better winning percentage on the road. I think we come in (to those games) with a better focus. To be able to get these wins at home, will do a ton for us and our momentum on this road trip.”