Huskies to Play for National Title after 89-78 Win over Northwest Missouri
By Jennifer Donovan | Published
Michigan Tech will play for the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship on Friday, March 25, in St. Joseph, Mo.
The No. 3 Huskies defeated a very tough Northwest Missouri State team 89-78 in the national semifinals Wednesday night behind a brilliant performance from sophomore point guard Sam Hoyt, who tallied team highs of 23 points and seven assists. The Huskies (31-2) were outscored 42-18 in the paint, but cashed in on 28-of-31 free throws and 9-of-19 3-pointers in the game for their 18th consecutive victory.
"We made big shots tonight," said head coach Kim Cameron, who became the first skipper in school history to guide a Tech team to the national title game. "We had a hard time defending their post players, but our offense came through."
Michigan Tech led by six at halftime, but the Bearcats clawed back to tie the game at 41 with 14:20 to play. Hoyt scored 10 of the team's next 13 points over the following four minutes including all three free throws after being fouled from the left wing. The three foul shots put Tech up for good, but it was far from over.
Northwest cut the margin to 54-53 less than a minute later, then had two more shots to take the lead. Tech's defense held strong, then Lucy Dernovsek made a layup and Angela Guisfredi buried a 3-pointer on her first shot attempt of the game to spread the gap to 59-53.
Gentry Dietz kept the Bearcats in the game with 29 second half points-most coming in the paint or at the foul line. She also kept the decidedly pro-Northwest crowd (Northwest Missouri State's campus is just more than 40 miles from St. Joseph) in a frenzy.
The biggest shot of the game perhaps came off the hand of freshman Kate Glodowski, who swished a 3-pointer from the left corner for a 64-57 lead with 5:54 remaining. The shot quieted the Bearcat's portion of the crowd of 1,956, and the Huskies built on the advantage. Guisfredi's second 3-pointer of the night pushed the margin to 10. Hoyt's jumper at 3:32 remaining kept the lead at 10. Hers would be the last field goal for the Huskies, who went 16-of-18 at the line in the final 2:33 to close out the win.
"Sam decided to take over the game and there was nothing that was going to stop her," said Cameron. "Their crowd got into it, and we made the plays to stop their momentum.
"Kate's got ice in her veins, because that was a huge shot for us at that point."
Hoyt handled multiple defenses from Northwest Missouri with just three turnovers. Her night overshadowed excellent performances from both Lisa Staehlin (20 points) and Dernovsek (17 points and 11 rebounds).
Staehlin went just 4-of-9 from the field working against a stout 6-4 Bearcat center Kyla Roehrig. The Huskies' post player cashed in on all 12 of her free throws and had six rebounds and three steals.
Dernovsek bounced back from a cold shooting performance in the quarterfinal against Arkansas Tech to make 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Lindsey Lindstrom added 12 points for Tech.
Northwest Missouri scored 78 points on 44 percent shooting but didn't have a 3-pointer in the game. The Bearcats went 24-of-31 at the foul line and held a 38-31 rebounding advantage. Dietz finished with a game-high 33 points.
Michigan Tech shot 48 percent from the floor including 47 percent from long range.
Tech will make its first-ever appearance in the national title game on Friday (Mar. 25). The Huskies will face No. 2-ranked Clayton State, which defeated Shaw 63-46 in the other semifinal. The NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship game is scheduled to tip off a 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and will be shown live on ESPN2.
Michigan Tech is organizing a fan bus to St. Joseph for the title game. The deadline to make reservations is Thursday (Mar. 24) at 4 p.m. Contact Steve Nordstrom (email@example.com or 906-487-3071) for details.
Note: Michigan Tech's 31 wins ties a school record. The school's previous deepest run in the NCAA Tournament was in 1993, when the Huskies lost in the national semifinal after winning the third-place game.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.