The Bulldogs struggled in the first quarter of both their matchups with Michigan Tech over the weekend, setting the tone for consecutive losses against the Huskies.
Ferris was outscored 24 – 13 in the first quarter of their Jan. 29 matchup with Michigan Tech and 22-9 in the first quarter of their Jan. 30 matchup.
“Michigan Tech did a really nice job,” head coach Kurt Westendorp said following the Bulldog’s 66 – 51 loss on Friday, Jan. 29. “They put us on our heels a little bit, which is one of the things we were trying to do to them. I felt like we were getting a lot of looks that we wanted, but they just weren’t going down in that first quarter. I felt like we did a decent job offensively and just weren’t able to capitalize.”
After leading 24 – 13 in the first quarter, the Huskies went on a 7 – 0 run to start the second quarter. Ferris freshman guard Kadyn Blanchard ended Michigan Tech’s run with a pull-up jumper from the free throw line to get the Bulldogs on the board in the second quarter. Ferris would go on to outscore the Huskies 15 – 12 in the second quarter and trail 36 – 28 at halftime.
“We had a great second quarter,” Westendorp said. “We played with so much pace and tempo and we had them on their heels. That’s also when we were able to get stops defensively. Then we were able to get going in transition because we didn’t have to take the ball out of the basket.”
Sophomore guard Mallory McCartney spoke on her team’s slow start to the game.
“So far that’s what we have been known for is battling our way out of holes that we dig by ourselves and I think we are finally realizing you can’t do that against good teams and still expect to win,” McCartney said. “We just need to be more consistent in everything we do and play with a chip on our shoulder.”
In the third quarter, Michigan Tech pulled away quickly with a 12 – 2 run in the first six minutes of action, giving them a 46 -3 0 lead. They ended the quarter outscoring Ferris 22 – 7 and took a 58 – 35 lead into the fourth quarter.
The offense for Ferris heated up in the fourth quarter. They scored 14 points in six minutes and forced the Huskies to use a timeout to halt the Bulldog’s momentum after cutting the deficit to 15 points. Michigan Tech’s lead did not slip below 15 for the remainder of the game, resulting in their 66 – 51 victory.
The loss knocked Ferris to 3 – 5 overall and was their third loss by double-digit points this season.
Blanchard led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points and chipped in eight rebounds and three assists.
Ferris finished the game with their second worst shooting percentage of the season, hitting just 34.4% of their shots from the floor, including 21.4% from three-point range.
Following the loss, Westendorp said his team has to “step up and learn.” He added that his team was “a step slow.”
The Bulldog’s second matchup with the Huskies came on Saturday, Jan. 30. Ferris committed four turnovers on its first four possessions, allowing Michigan Tech to claim an early 10 – 0 lead just two minutes into the first quarter.
Michigan Tech extended their lead to 14 – 0 before senior guard Samantha Krauss got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with a layup with 3:30 left in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the Huskies led 22 – 9, including 11 points off eight Bulldog turnovers.
In the first five minutes of the second quarter, the Bulldogs went on a 12 – 2 run and cut the Huskies’ lead to three points. Ferris kept the momentum going after a Michigan Tech timeout and trailed 31 – 28 at halftime. Junior guard Ellie Mackay led the Huskies with 17 points in the first half and Blanchard led the Bulldogs with 11 points.
Westendorp liked that his team fought back to keep the game competitive after a rough start.
“Our kids showed heart today,” Westendorp said. “We’ve got a group in that locker room that knows what it takes. You could never doubt the fiber of their character. They’re a bunch of fighters, and we knew they’d come out here and fight, so I’m really proud that they were able to make that a game after about as bad of a start as you could have ever had.”
Part of the reason for the Bulldog’s strong second quarter was limiting the Huskies to just nine points. That mark represented the second fewest points Ferris has allowed in a quarter all season.
To start the third quarter, McCartney hit a three pointer to tie the game, but the Huskies would go on to outscore the Bulldogs 17 – 15 in the quarter. They took a 48 – 43 lead into the final quarter of play.
The Huskies prevented Ferris from ever capturing the lead in the fourth quarter and emerged victorious 63 – 55. They did not trail throughout the entirety of the game, and Mackay finished with 31 points, tied for the second most points a player has scored against the Bulldogs all season.
Ferris struggled from the free throw line all game. They made just 40% (6-15) of their tries from the line, well below their season average of 78.9%. Blanchard and McCartney each had 13 points in the loss.
Despite losing a second game in a row, Blanchard was proud of the way her team played in the second game.
“Our team has so much grit and fight and it really showed to be able to come back against a good team like Tech,” Blanchard said. “We put up a hard fought battle that second game. Tech is a very physical team and I don’t think any of us backed down, we gave it right back to them.”
After losing consecutive games against the Huskies, Ferris sits at 3 – 6 overall and will face Grand Valley Feb. 6 and 7.