Blake leads Tech to win at Ashland

ASHLAND, Ohio – Danielle Blake dominated on both ends of the floor to lead Michigan Tech to a 66-61 win over Ashland on Saturday at Kates Gymnasium. The Huskies and Eagles found themselves on the national stage, but it was Blake and the Black and Gold making the big plays down the stretch, snapping a six-game losing streak to Ashland.

The sophomore guard finished with 32 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the floor and 8-for-10 from the free throw line. Blake also drew the assignment of slowing down Ashland guard Taylor Woods and held her to only 3-for-14 shooting while she also contributed four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

“Dani was flat-out dominant today,” Tech women’s basketball coach Kim Cameron said. “It seems that we see the best offense out of her when she is totally focused in on defense, and that’s what it was today.”

The game was televised on CBS Sports Network as part of the CBS Sports Network Division II Game of the Week. Tipoff was at 11:30 a.m. in front of 1,754 fans.

Two old-fashioned three-point plays by Blake in the late stages held the Eagles at bay, and she sealed the deal with a pair of free throws with six seconds left.

Tech has now won nine games in a row and stands at 10-2 overall and a perfect 8-0 in GLIAC play. Saturday’s game was the final against the South Division.

“It means a lot for us to finish unbeaten against the South,” Cameron said. “That was one of the things we talked about in the preseason.”

The Huskies held their lead for most of the second half until the Eagles tied it at 52 and then took a one-point lead on a 3-point play by Rachelle Morrison with 6:25 left.

Blake gave Tech its lead back with a jumper and then Jillian Ritchie scored a layup as the shot clocked ticked down.

On the next Ashland (7-5, 5-3 GLIAC) possession, Blake tipped away a pass and went one-on-one with her defender and got a bucket and a foul. She completed the three-point play for a five-point lead (59-54) with 4:40 left.

Ashland cut it back to three before Kylie Moxley scored after rebounding her own miss with 3:22 remaining.

Ashland scored a three-point play after an offensive rebound but Blake answered with a bucket and a free throw on the other end for a 64-59 lead with 1:58 remaining. The teams traded free throws down the stretch.

As a team, the Huskies shot 44.8 percent (26-for-58) from the floor and made only 4-for-14 from the 3-point line.

Moxley finished with eight points while Kerry Gardner added seven. Paige Albi had six points on a pair of 3-pointers and Ritchie finished with five on two driving layups with the shot clock winding down. Ritchie also added six rebounds, two assists a block and a steal.

Melanie Poorman (15) led four Eagles in double figures as Suzy Wollenhaupt (13), McKenzie Miller (12) and Woods (10) also scored 10 points. Ashland shot 42.4 percent (25-for-59) from the field and was 0-for-5 from three.

Both teams had 35 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

The Huskies host Ferris State and Grand Valley State next weekend at the SDC Gym to open play against the North Division.