HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech became the first team to win three straight NCAA Division II Women\’s Basketball Midwest Regional titles with a 69-57 victory over Wisconsin-Parside tonight at the SDC Gym. The Huskies received double digit scoring efforts from four different players to improve to 29-2 overall and advance to next week\’s Elite Eight.
Tech led by as many 17 points in the contest, but held off a late Ranger run to come away victorious.
\”What a fantastic ending to a game,\” said head coach Kim Cameron. \”Give Parkside credit. They didn\’t give up and made a run like we knew they would. I\’m so proud of my team and how they kept their composure.\”
Michigan Tech led by 14 with less than nine minutes to play before UWP (24-7) scored eight straight points to close within 57-51 at the five-minute mark. Lisa Staehlin then went to work in the post, making a nice move for a layup to push the margin back to eight.
Jadee Rooney hit a layup after an offensive rebound on the next trip down the floor to cut it down to six again. The Huskies proceeded to go 10-of-12 from the free throw line with no turnovers in the final four minutes. Tech also turned up the defensive intensity in holding the Rangers to just one field goal on their final seven attempts.
\”This team believes in each other,\” said Cameron. \”We have so many good players, and they trust that somebody will step up and make the plays. Tonight it was everybody taking care of the ball and making free throws at the end.\”
Tech used its lethal one-two punch in the post again tonight with a team-high 17 points coming from Staehlin and 12 more from Lynn Giesler. Both players made the all-tournament team. Staehlin was 8-of-8 from the field while Giesler went 6-of-11 to help the Huskies outscore UWP 32-26 in the paint.
Lucy Dernovsek had another superb all-around game with 13 points, eight rebounds and three each in the categories of assists, blocks and steals. She was the third Huskies player named to the all-tournament team. She also became Tech\’s single-season blocks leader during the contest (66).
Sam Hoyt was the fourth Husky in double figures with 12.
Rooney tallied a game-high 20 points for the Rangers. She and Quincy senior Courtney Shuman were the other two players named to the all-tournament team.
The crowd of 2,297 did not approach last year\’s record of 3,131, but the atmosphere was still electric. \”The adrenaline was crazy,\” said Staehlin in the post-game press conference. \”The crowd gave us goosebumps.\”
Tech battled through some early nerves and a 7-4 deficit by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers for a 10-7 lead four minutes into the game. The margin grew to 22-11 as the hosts\’ defense limited UWP to four points over a nine-minute span. The Huskies went into halftime up 35-20. The gap remained at 13 or more in the second half until Parkside\’s run.
As opposed to Saturday night\’s semifinal vs. Drury where Michigan Tech drained 11 3-pointers, the Huskies had to rely on its interior presence. The Black and Gold made just 3-of-11 from behind the arc but still shot 53 percent from the field.
UW-Parkside was held just under 40 percent from the field. The difference in field goal shooting was the difference in the final score.
Michigan Tech built upon several streaks it had coming into the game. The Huskies have now won: a school-record-tying 16 straight games overall, 32 consecutive home games and nine straight Midwest Regional games.
Tech will advance to the Elite Eight in St. Joseph, Mo., next week (Mar. 22-25) and play South Region Champion Arkansas Tech (30-2) in the national quarterfinal. The game is set for Tuesday (Mar. 22) at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.