Tech women top SVSU

HOUGHTON – In a battle of precocious freshmen Saturday, the Michigan Tech women’s basketball first-year pair of Kylie Moxley and MacKenzie Perttu combined for 38 points in just the second game the duo has started together. Saginaw Valley State countered with a 31-point effort from freshmen Emily Wendling and Danielle Carriere.

So what was the difference in the contest?

Saginaw doesn’t have a senior like Sam Hoyt to act as a gamebreaker.

Hoyt finished with 22 points (7-of-14 shooting) and four assists to help Tech overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and close out Saginaw 73-67.

While Moxley and Perttu may have put together their best games in a Husky uniform yet, Hoyt demonstrated once again she serves as the engine that makes this team go.

Combined with 19 points (7-of-12 shooting) Thursday in a 21-point win over Wayne State, Tech coach Kim Cameron believes Hoyt put together her best two-game weekend of the season as the Huskies sit in a tie for first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division with Ferris State.

“It has been a very clear change since Thursday and I hope it continues because we have to have her,” Cameron said. “She is recognizing where we are at and where we need to be in order to accomplish our team goals. It is her last year and there is a little more sense of urgency now.”

“I love playing with Sam,” Moxley added. “She opens it up for me when she is driving in there and she is just doing everything she can out there. She is just great.”

Trailing 39-32 at halftime, it took Tech (11-5, 9-3 GLIAC) just over three minutes to take the lead back permanently coming out of the break. The Huskies poured in 18 points in the first five minutes of the second half – Hoyt had seven – as the offense ran in and out of Moxley in the post.

“She just demands so much attention inside that she creates opportunities for shooters, for our Sam Hoyts, our Emma Veaches, even just our ability to make cuts,” Cameron said. “We are going to pass the ball into her and she is starting to learn when to pass it back. She makes our entire offense better because she demands so much attention.”

Moxley went 9-of-14 from the field to finish with 20 points, and while it wasn’t her highest scoring game of the year, it was probably her most impressive based on the strength of the Saginaw defense.

At 6-feet tall, Moxley went to battle with the 6-foot-3 Wendling, and was able to consistently score on her freshman counterpart thanks to an array of post moves hitherto dormant this season.

As the team’s second leading scorer this year, Moxley has generally had her way just bullying defenders with drop steps and power moves. Saturday, Moxley opened the game with an up-and-under layup Kevin McHale would have appreciated and later tallied with a fadeaway in the paint and driving spin.

“I knew today that I had to bring out my moves,” Moxley said. “They have scouted us and see what I have done so I knew I needed to do something different than just trying to power through a girl I kind of thought of it as a freshman on freshman, who is going to win, who is going to be the bigger person down low.”

“It was her first move where she got her up in the air with an up-and-under – that is just her learning,” Cameron added. “Six games ago she was shooting into someone over and over and over again. That is an adjustment she has been able to make.”

Where Cameron noted Hoyt’s urgency in her last year, fellow senior Emma Veach jumped out all over the score sheet as well.

Along with seven points on 50 percent shooting, Veach collected six offensive rebounds, two assists and blocked three shots.

“That is unbelievable,” Cameron said. “And she barely even played in the first half with two fouls. And then the three blocks came at a time where we really needed stops and we had a segment where we refused to let them score.”

Tech trailed at halftime thanks to Saginaw sinking 6-of-10 threes. The Cardinals (6-9, 4-7 GLIAC) entered the game shooting just 23 percent from beyond the arc.

They would finish with 9-of-16 total.

“We didn’t make the adjustment fast enough,” Cameron said. “If your person hits a three, you have to be out on them and know they are going to shoot again. We have to learn to make better adjustments sooner than halftime.”