Defense dominant as Tech women roll

HOUGHTON – Saturday afternoon was one of the rare times when a 25-point blowout undersells the domination that actually occurred.

The Michigan Tech women’s basketball team defeated Lake Superior State for the 12th straight time, 65-40 at the SDC. But Saturday, the final score was almost irrelevant.

The Huskies controlled every facet of the contest from tip to finish, getting whatever shot they wanted on offense and completely smothering the Lakers on defense. Tech coach Kim Cameron pulled all five starters with 7:37 to play, acknowledging that the game was over and done with well before the final seconds ticked off.

“Suffocating is probably the best word that I have for it,” Tech guard Dani Blake said. “There were times when they couldn’t even dribble the ball.

“I had a lot of fun. That was pretty cool.”

Pick a stat, any stat.

The Lakers finished with 13 made field goals (shooting 25 percent). The Huskies finished with 13 steals.

Lake State ended with 19 turnovers (six more than field goals made) and three assists. Tech forward Jillian Ritchie had four assists on her own.

No one player for Lake Superior scored more than five points. Blake earned five steals in 23 minutes of action.

For a 10-minute stretch to start the second half, the Lakers scored just four points total.

“This has been the best team defense all year,” Blake said. “Everyone did a great job with their individual assignments, and then everyone was helping as a team. Everyone was doing it. It was awesome.”

“The most rewarding part for us it that we drill those principles all preseason and then every week,” Cameron added. “So even though we only have a day to prepare for Lake State we can still be ready to defend like that. you don’t get time to watch as much film during the year, so you have to rely on your principles.”

The Huskies controlled the game from the opening tip, starting on an 18-7 run in the first 10 minutes while shooting 7-of-11 from the field.

Tech worked the ball to Kylie Moxley inside for a pair of short jumpers and Mackenzie Perttu and Kerry Gardner found room to drive for a trio of layups to seize the lead permanently.

The Huskies attempted just nine three-pointers for the game – they average 18.5 attempts per game this season – as shots at the rim were available nearly every possession.

“We knew we would be able to attack the hoop,” Blake said. “Our goal was just to get the ball to the rim.”

Taking a 34-20 lead into intermission, the Huskies picked up right where they left off to jump start the second half, opening with a 9-0 run that buried any Laker hope of a comeback.

“Lake State is a team that does not go away, so we really wanted to start the second half like that and not let them get any momentum early,” Cameron said.

With the game well in hand for the entirety of the contest, Cameron was able to use her bench liberally, with all players seeing at least five minutes of action and no starter playing more than 24 minutes.

That could pay off in a big way with Tech hosting Northern Michigan today and traveling to Ferris State and Grand Valley Thursday and Saturday for five games in 10 days.

“The bench players did a great job stepping up in both halves,” Blake said. “Even when the starters were out it felt like the starters were in.”