CANTON, Ohio — Despite playing only 19 minutes due to foul trouble, senior Jillian Ritchie delivered in crunch time for Michigan Tech in a 65-58 GLIAC-opening victory at Malone tonight. Ritchie buried a 3-pointer with 2:22 to go and made two free throws with :38 remaining to lift the Huskies to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC.
“That’s what a senior will do for you,” said Tech coach Kim Cameron. “I was glad to see it was her taking the shot in that situation because I knew it was going in.
“I’m not sure what it was tonight. We really were out of sync at times, but we found a way to get the win.”
One possibility for the lack of rhythm could have been foul trouble. Both Ritchie and Blake sat big periods in the first half with two fouls.
Tech jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the opening stanza before Malone came back within 12-11. The lead changed hands six times before the Huskies used jumpers from Morgan Anderson, Brenna Heise and Kelli Guy to create a nine-point margin. The gap at half was 32-25.
The Black and Gold led by as many as 12 in the second half, but Ritchie, Blake and Heise all picked up four fouls with more than 12 minutes to play.
Malone (2-2, 0-1 GLIAC) made a run to close within 53-52 with 5:25 to play. It was still a one-point game two minutes later as Kristen Massey gave the Pioneers their first lead of the half 56-55.
Tech got the ball to Ritchie on the very next possession, and she buried a triple to put the visitors in front for good.
The score was still 58-56 under one minute to play, and the Pioneers had the ball under their own hoop. Malone could not get the ball in, however. A five-second call gave possession to Tech, and Ritchie extended the margin to four with a pair of foul shots. The Huskies went 7-of-8 at the stripe in the final moments to close out the victory.
Heise finished with a team-high 12 points. Anderson and Blake added 10 apiece to join her in double figures. Ritchie had five rebounds to go with her six points, which were all scored in the final 2:22.
Massey posted a game-high 13 points for the Pioneers.
Michigan Tech will have a day off before continuing GLIAC play at Walsh Saturday (Dec. 6). Tip-off in North Canton, Ohio, is set for 1 p.m.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)