ASHLAND, Ohio – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team had the 2017-18 come to a close Friday night, falling to Grand Valley State University 75-54 in the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament Friday night at Ashland University. The Huskies had another outstanding season, making their 19th trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history and winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division title.
"We came in and gave everything that we had," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "I'm really proud of our six seniors who got us to this point as it was a goal we had throughout the entire year. We can't fault our effort and that's all we asked was for them to leave everything on the floor. Grand Valley State played great and unfortunately it wasn't our night."
Grand Valley State (26-6) jumped out to a quick 8-2 advantage in the opening three minutes of the contest. Cassidy Boensch had four of the first eight points for the Lakers. Michigan Tech (23-6) countered though with an 9-0 scoring burst to pull in front 11-8. Senior Brenna Heise dialed in a triple followed by a trey from senior Hannah Stoll to knot the game at 8-8 with 5:13 on the first quarter clock. Heise then capped the run with a conventional three-point play with 4:44 remaining in the first.
The Lakers tied the game 11-11, but then the Huskies scored six of the next seven points to build their largest lead of the evening at 17-12. Junior Michelle LaFave connected on a triple from the wing followed by another three-point bucket courtesy of sophomore Hannah Hobson to reach the 17th point threshold with 2:23 left in the first period. Grand Valley State's Jenn DeBoer recorded the final points of the quarter to make it a 17-15 score going into the second.
Unfortunately, the Lakers would establish a foothold in the game by outscoring the Huskies in the second quarter 25-13. Boensch gave the Lakers a 20-19 lead on a free throw with 7:47 left in the second before the Huskies slipped back in front 22-20 on another LaFave three-point basket. Grand Valley State then went on a 14-2 run to build a double digit advantage at 34-24 following a Victoria Hedemark basket with 2:21 on the clock. The Lakers eventually carried a 40-30 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
DeBoer and Boensch combined to score the first four points of the third period to expand the lead to 44-30 for the Lakers. Stoll knocked down a jumper for Tech's first two points of the third to draw the Huskies back to within 12 points at 44-32. Grand Valley State expanded the gap to 51-32 near the midway point of the quarter before the Huskies made a late third quarter charge to climb back to within 12 points again at 55-43 in the final minute. Senior's Elisa Jurmu and Kelli Guy along with Heise produced key points during that stretch.
However, the Lakers took the momentum back at the outset of the fourth quarter when Boensch and Natalie Koenig team up for five more points to make it 60-43 with just under nine minutes to go in the game. Unfortunately, the Huskies were unable to generate a fourth quarter rally.
Heise led the Huskies on Friday night with 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Stoll, Guy, and LaFave chipped in eight points apiece with Guy dishing out four assists. Hobson added six points and matched Heise with six rebounds against the Lakers. As a team, Tech was 19 of 54 from the field (35.2%), 10 of 23 from behind the three-point arc (43.5%), and 6 for 8 at the free throw line (75.0%).
Boensch had a game high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to guide the Lakers on Friday. DeBoer followed with 15 points and Korynn Hincka hauled down a team high 11 rebounds. Natalie Koenig contributed eight points and dealt out seven assists. Grand Valley State was successful on 30 of 61 attempts from the floor (49.2%), 6 of 19 from three-point range (31.6%), and 9 of 15 at the free throw line (60.0%). The Lakers scored 48 of their points in the paint.
The Huskies wrapped up the year with a 23-6 record while GVSU moves on to play Ashland University in the regional semifinals Saturday night.