D-II Tournament: Tech Terrific
March 16, 2009
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — The Michigan Tech women’s basketball team is headed for San Antonio! The No. 22-ranked Huskies won the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship with a 69-52 score over Indianapolis at the Bank of Kentucky Center tonight. Tech led by as many as 25 points and stayed on on top down the stretch to claim the program’s second regional title and the first since 1993.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” said head coach John Barnes. “They’ve given their all and made sacrifices to get here, and now we’ve accomplished one of our goals.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair for the first 11 minutes before Tech seized control. Two straight 3-pointers from Katie Zimmerman jumpstarted a 29-6 run to close the half. Katie Wysocky added 10 points and Sarah Stream had five more during the run that put the Huskies up 43-21 at halftime.
“We wanted to set the tempo,” said team captain Sarah Stream, who was named to the NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team. “We hit those shots early, and it fired us up and gave us confidence.”
The Black and Gold drained 8-of-10 first-half 3-pointers and Tara Ferris kept it going in the second half. Her triple pushed the margin to a game-high 25 points early in the second half before UIndy began its surge. The Greyhounds (24-10) used an 8-0 run to close the gap to 12 with nine minutes to play.
Tech answered with six points from Wysocky to expand the lead to 16. The Huskies made five-of-six free throws in the waning minutes for the final margin of 17.
“It was tense for a few moments there, but the team responded,” said Barnes. “They took care of the ball and made free throws to get the win.”
Wysocky totaled 19 points and 16 rebounds in the game en route to being named the tournament’s most outstanding player. She had a combined 56 points and 42 rebounds in the three-game regional.
“Everyone came to play tonight,” said Wysocky. “It was a total team effort the whole weekend. Nobody cares who gets the points as long as we’re winning.”
Stream paced the team in scoring tonight with 20 points to go with six assists. Danae Danen added 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Zimmerman posted eight more points and was also an all-tournament team selection.
Shooting was the key for Tech as it went 50 percent from the field including 53 percent (9-of-17) from behind the arc. The Huskies also won the battle of the boards with a 36-24 rebounding edge.
Indianapolis was held to 35 percent from the floor including 26 percent in the opening half.
“I’m privileged to coach this team,” said Barnes, who came into the tournament searching for his first NCAA win and is now 3-3. “We’ve been striving to get this program back to the Elite 8 since I arrived.
“I’m honored to represent the Midwest Region at the next level. We’re going to San Antonio with big expectations. We’re not done yet.”
Michigan Tech, which has improved its record to 27-6, will now face Minnesota State Mankato in the national quarterfinal game March 24 at 12 noon. The Mavericks won the Central Region title with a 72-61 victory over Fort Lewis.
All 2009 Women’s Basketball Elite 8 games will be played at St. Mary’s University’s Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.
Notes: Tech improved its all-time record in NCAA Tournament games to 14-13 with the win ... The Huskies will break the school record for games played with the national quarterfinal game. The 1992-93 team, which finished third in the nation, played 33 games to a 30-3 record ... Joining Wysocky, Stream and Zimmerman on the all-tournament team were Indianapolis’ Samantha Meissel and Jessica Canary ... Tech’s three wins in the NCAA Tournament came by 18 points (71-53 over Northwood), 23 points (76-53 over Northern Kentucky) and 17 points (69-52 over Indianapolis).