Each time Northwest Missouri State grabbed the momentum and got its boisterous crowd behind them, Michigan Tech delivered a silencer. Northwest gave a gutsy effort in an 89-78 loss to Michigan Tech Wednesday evening at the St. Joseph Civic Center. The Bearcats’ season came to an end in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II women’s basketball championship.
“A lot of times coaches will stand up here and talk about what we did wrong, but the only thing I can talk about is what they did right,” Northwest coach Gene Steinmeyer said. “They shot free throws and every time our crowd got into it they hit a big shot. They earned the win. We played well. We couldn’t get stops. They earned it. Our kids played their hearts out, but we just couldn’t get stops.”
The Bearcats, who went where no other Northwest women’s basketball team has ever gone before, finished their remarkable year with a 29-5 record.
For a while in the second half it looked like the Bearcats would march into the championship. After a sluggish first half, the Bearcats found their stride in the opening minutes of the second half, quickly slicing a six-point halftime deficit.
About 5 minutes into the second half, Northwest tied the game 41-41 on a basket by Kyla Roehrig and that’s when the large contingent of Northwest fans erupted to a deafening level.
The Huskies, though, never rattled, regain the lead at 48-44.
“Sam Hoyt decided she was going to take over this game when it was close,” Michigan Tech coach Kim Cameron said. “She took the entire team on her shoulder and we were not going to lose this game.”
Northwest continued to fight hard and even tied the game at 51-51 on a three-point play by Gentry Dietz with 10:39 left.
But it became clear that the Huskies had a response to everything that the Bearcats threw at them. It was Hoyt who gave Michigan Tech the lead for good when she was fouled on a three-point shot. She made all three free-throws that put the Huskies up 54-51. Northwest Missouri in striking distance. She scored 29 of her game-high 33 points in the second half.
But the balanced attack of Hoyt on the outside, Lucy Dernovsek with mid-range and three-pointers and the inside play of Lisa Staehlin proved to be too much for the Bearcats. Hoyt finished with 23, Staehlin had 20 and Dernovsek added 17.
Gabby Curtis scored 20 for Northwest and Roehrig added 15.
Story courtesy of David Boyce, Northwest Missouri Athletics.