NEGAUNEE - The Michigan Tech Huskies used their small roster to their advantage, defeating Crossfit Marquette, 77-63, in the Negaunee Invitational Tournament Women's Championship on Sunday at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee.
The Huskies, made up of former MTU players, had six players compared to Crossfit Marquette with 12. While the Tech players grew fatigued throughout the game, they had the benefit of growing and maintaining their momentum.
"When you rotate in five new girls, it's kind of hard to get a flow going," Michigan Tech's Lindsey Lindstrom said. "We had an idea of what the game was like the entire time.
Lindsey Lindstrom, right, of MTU drives to the basket against Angela Leckson, left of Crossfit Marquette in the NIT Women’s Championship game on Sunday at Lakeview Memorial Gym in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Amy Treloar)
"We knew going into it that every possession was important and that we needed to really take advantage of mismatches on the floor."
Lindstrom, who played the full 40 minutes, was named MVP with 31 points for the Huskies on Sunday.
"I was a little winded, so I think it was just adrenaline," Lindstrom said. "I just really focused on my shot because my legs were a little tired."
Paige Albi scored 15 points for Tech, while Sarah Stream and Maria Kasza had 13 points each.
For Crossfit Marquette - which was made up of former Northern Michigan University players - Annie Rubendunst had a team-high 17 points, and Chelsea Lyons scored 11.
"They couldn't miss, and when you play a team that can't miss, it's really hard to be competitive with them," Lyons said.
Lyons said Crossfit Marquette was trying to fast break since their team was larger, but the Huskies' high shooting percentage made that strategy nearly impossible.
"When they don't miss a shot, you can't fast break, so kudos to them," Lyons said.
Crossfit Marquette gave Michigan Tech a good run, tying five times, with the last tie being at 31 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.
But the Huskies regained an eight-point lead going into halftime and carried that momentum into the second half.
"We needed to adjust on defense," Lindstrom said. "We needed to get in front in the post, and we just kind of cleaned up a couple things we didn't do well in the first half."
Tech held a comfortable lead through the remainder of the contest, extending it to its maximum of 14 points to top off the championship victory.
"We just work really well as a team," Lindstrom said. "Having all of these girls as my teammates previously made it that much more fun. I couldn't be more proud."
Despite the defeat, Lyons said Crossfit Marquette will be back next year, and the team hopes to be in better shape and a little more competitive.
"The whole goal was just to play with friends," Lyons said. "If anybody looked at the roster they'll see it's all Wildcats, young and old, so that was really fun to get back together with them."