Huskies hold off Timberwolves

MIDLAND – Michigan Tech women’s basketball coach Kim Cameron continues to find help in strange places.

Last week, in wins over Wayne State and Saginaw Valley, it was two true freshman leading the way in conjunction with senior point guard Sam Hoyt.

Thursday, with Kylie Moxley and MacKenzie Perttu struggling to adapt to the physical play of Northwood and Hoyt on the bench early in the first half with foul trouble, sophomore Jillian Ritchie, redshirt freshman Danielle Blake (eight points) and Paige Albi (three offensive rebounds) stepped up.

Ritchie scored 12 first-half points on 4-for-4 shooting and Tech took a 38-31 lead into intermission before holding on for a 65-59 victory.

“I cannot say enough about the bench tonight,” Cameron said in a phone interview. “With Sam out in foul trouble, we had some odd lineups out there we haven’t had together much and everybody came in completely comfortable. They went above and beyond their jobs.

“Jillian really set the tone,” Cameron added. “She made her threes, layups and free throws. She really came out ready to be aggressive scoring.”

Even with the first-half cushion though, the Huskies still needed some Hoyt heroics.

The Timberwolves came out firing in the second half and held a seven-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

Hoyt kept crashing to the hoop, however, and earned 12 trips to the free throw line (hitting 11) to pull Tech in front and protect the lead.

Hoyt finished with 20 points on 4-of-7 shooting, her fourth game with 20 or more this season and second straight.

“You need to have the ball in her hands,” Cameron said. “She was getting doubled and tripled and finding a way to score the basketball. It was really amazing how she took over.”