By JACK VANASSCHE, Sports Editor

Despite a red-hot start, the University of Michigan-Dearborn women’s basketball team could not hang with the No. 20 Indiana Tech Racers at their gym in an 81-46 loss.

Wednesday, the Wolverines (5-19, 2-14 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) hit the road for Fort Wayne, Ind. for their lone game of the week against the ranked Warriors (16-6, 11-4 WHAC).

Coaches participated in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers event during the game.

Coaches across the country wore sneakers with their game suits in an effort to remind all of the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing the risk of cancer.

UM-Dearborn head coach Jordan Sweeney, Indiana Tech head coach Jessie Biggs and both coaching staffs played their parts in wearing sneakers with their coaching attire. Sweeney was sporting a black pair of Nike Jordan’s.

From the start, things were looking up for UM-Dearborn.

After a first quarter in which the Wolverines shot 12-of-27 (44 percent) from the floor, they found themselves on top of the Warriors by a 19-14 score.

“We played well,” said Sweeney. “I was proud of them after one. We executed well on offense and our defense found their girls that could shoot and did a good job with them.”

Jeorgia Jones, returning to the starting lineup after coming off the bench against Lourdes on Jan. 14, scored 11 points in the first quarter alone.

“She’s been playing a lot better,” said Sweeney of the freshman Jones. “She’s learning what it takes to compete at this level.”

The early lead for the Wolverines would not last, as Indiana Tech found a higher gear in the  middle of the second quarter that the Wolverines could not match.

The Warriors busted out of their defensive slumber and held the Wolverines to just six points in the second quarter, erasing the UM-Dearborn lead late in the second with a 14-0 run.

Indiana Tech scored 21 points in the second to regain the lead and build upon it before halftime.

The Wolverines had no answer for the Warriors from behind the three-point arc, as the Warriors shot 16-of-31 (51 percent) from three-point range on the evening. In contrast, the Wolverines were a dismal 0-for-13 from long range.

In the third quarter, the Warriors continued to pour it on with 30 more points. The Wolverines were held to just seven points in the third quarter.

“They started to make a few shots and we started to get discouraged,” Sweeney said.

The Wolverines got their legs under them offensively in the fourth quarter with 14 points, but the damage had been done.

Indiana Tech guard Haley Cook led all scorers with 20 points on the night on 7-of-11 shooting and five three-pointers.

Forward Taylor Seiss added 14 points for the Warriors, 12 of which came from three-pointers.

For the Wolverines, Jones led the way with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Kendall Rose scored seven points and added a game-high eight rebounds.

The Wolverines got a day off on Saturday, which Sweeney hopes will lead to some fresh legs for his team’s last stretch of the season.

This week, the Wolverines will play two home games, the first a 5:30 p.m. game against Lawrence Tech University on Wednesday followed by a Saturday matinee against Marygrove College starting at 1 p.m.

After a treacherous stretch of four long road trips in their last five games, the Wolverines will be happy to return home for a week.

“That’s going to be so nice,” said Sweeney. “We know we can compete with any team we face and going into this last stretch we’d really like to see how we manage.”