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by Wes Frahm, director of athletic communications and marketing

Clayton State Takes Women's Basketball Title Over Tech 69-50
by Wes Frahm, director of athletic communications and marketing

Michigan Tech's run in the NCAA Tournament was stopped one step short of the ultimate prize Friday (March 25) as No. 2-ranked Clayton State defeated the No. 3 Huskies 69-50 in the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship game. The 35-1 Lakers, who were one win (and one point, for that matter) away from a perfect season, used a relentless press and forced 25 Tech turnovers to claim their school's first national title.

The Huskies' run, which seemed improbable to start the season with no returning starters and a first-year head coach, ends with a 31-3 record. Tech advanced further into the NCAA Tournament than any other team in the program's history, coming within 40 minutes of earning the school's first national title since 1975, an NCAA Division I men's ice hockey crown.

"It was a heck of a battle," said head coach Kim Cameron. "You know when you get to this level you're going to play the best of the best.

"They kept us from getting into our offense. They got us to play their game. Clayton State deserves all the credit."

The Huskies opened the title game well enough. Tech led 20-15 midway through the frame, to the delight of the partisan crowd of 1,464. But the Lakers were able to turn up the pressure and end the half on a 16-4 run. CSU entered halftime with a 31-24 lead.

Michigan Tech needed to reverse the momentum in the opening minutes of the second half. Instead, the exact opposite happened. The Huskies committed five straight turnovers, and Clayton State scored 11 consecutive points to expand the margin to 42-24 just 1 minute-46 seconds into the frame. When Kayla Mobley banked in a 3-pointer at the 15:09 mark, it was clear it wasn't the Huskies' night.

The Lakers' pressure never relented. Lisa Staehlin's three-point play with 10 minutes-4 seconds showing sparked the Huskies' crowd and pulled the Black and Gold within 53-37. Tech would never get any closer. Clayton State was able to maintain its advantage to claim the win.

"We had unbelievable support here tonight and all season long," said Cameron. "To see how our community and University have come to support us means so much. We rode their coat tails as much as they rode ours."

Tech entered the game with the nation's leading turnovers-per-game average of 12.5, but doubled it in the contest with the 25. The Huskies were also out-shot 48 percent to 38 percent from the field.

Staehlin paced the Huskies with 18 points and was named to the NCAA Elite Eight All-Tournament team. Sam Hoyt also reached double figures in scoring with 11. She was the other Tech player named All-Tournament.

Clayton State was led by Teshymia Tillman's 26 points. She was named the tournament's most outstanding player. CSU's Drameka Griggs and Northwest Missouri State's Gentry Dietz rounded out the All-Tournament team.

Michigan Tech hosted a welcome-home celebration for the women's basketball team Saturday afternoon at the SDC. The public was invited to come and celebrate the greatest season in the history of one of the nation's most successful programs.

Notes: Staehlin tallied 53 points, and Hoyt scored 52 points in the Elite Eight. Lucy Dernovsek blocked four shots in the game and finished the year with a school-record 73. Angela Guisfredi finished the season with the single-season three-point percentage record of 50.4. Staehlin, Dernovsek and Guisfredi all played their final games in a Tech uniform, helping the team to a 112-21 record over the last four years.

Polar Bear Cookbook

Thank you to everyone who submitted recipes for the Polar Bear Hockey Cookbook. The cookbooks are now available. The cost for the cookbooks are $10.00 so make sure to grab one for yourself and maybe one or two as a gift. They can be purchased at the Pat O'Donnel Civic Center concession stand or by contacting Kerry Roehm or Micki Sorensen.




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