Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's basketball team fought back from a 12-point deficit with six minutes to play to stun Calvin 75-73 in overtime on Tuesday (Nov. 8) evening in exhibition action at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs trailed by five (34-29) and halftime and were down 61-49 with 5:57 remaining before outscoring the Knights 16-4 over the final six minutes to force the extra session. In overtime, the Bulldogs scored the first five points and never trailed in posting the win.
The Knights entered the season ranked sixth by D3hoops.com and eighth by Women's Division III News.
Calvin held a four-point cushion at 64-60 with 1:38 remaining in regulation, but the Bulldogs pulled within three on a free throw and then forced back-to-back turnovers that led to layups from sophomore guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown) and freshman forward Christina Branch (Grand Rapids/West Michigan Lutheran). The second game FSU a 65-64 advantage with nine seconds to play. Calvin's Carissa Verkaik was fouled at the other end and hit the second of two free throws with five seconds left to send the game to overtime as DeShone missed a jumper as time expired.
After falling behind by six points with 2:54 left in the extra session, Calvin trimmed the deficit to a single point at 74-73 with 47 seconds to go. The Knights forced a Bulldog turnover, but missed a jumper and FSU senior guard Tricia Principe (Kalamazoo/Mattawan) hit the second of two free throws to make it a two-point game. Calvin turned the ball over without getting a shot on the final possession.
DeShone led the Bulldogs with 20 points and six assists in the game while Branch added 19 points on an eight-of-11 shooting performance. The Bulldogs also received 12 points and six boards from Principe as all three reached double-figure scoring.
Sophomore forward Nikki Arner (Ludington) narrowly missed double-digits with nine points and six rebounds. Senior guard Kelsey DeNoyelles (Mt. Pleasant/Sacred Heart) also had a solid game with eight points and eight rebounds. Additionally, freshman guard Morgan Miller (Brownsburg, Ind.) dished out nine assists for FSU.
Their performances helped offset a game-high 24-point and 11 rebound effort by Verkaik, who added three assists and three blocked shots. Jill Thomas joined her in double-figures with 12 points for Calvin, but those were the only two to score more than eight points in the outing for the Knights.
Ferris State outrebounded Calvin 46-36 for the night and outscored the Knights 40-24 in the paint for the game. FSU also tallied nine fast break points to none for Calvin and had 19 second-chance points to only 14 for the visitors.
Overall, Ferris State shot 42.6% (29-68) from the floor and made six-of-21 (28.6%) three-point tries along with an 11-of-19 (57.9%) showing at the free throw line.
On the opposite side, Calvin converted 40.9% (27-66) of its field goal attempts and hit 10-of-28 (35.7%) three's along with nine-of-13 (69.2%) free throws.
Ferris State turned the ball over 19 times, but had 21 assists and nine steals to go with one blocked shot. Calvin managed 20 assists, 13 steals and four blocks with 18 turnovers.
The game featured six lead changes and the score was tied five times. FSU had 11 players see action and all but one scored.
The Bulldogs officially open the 2011-12 regular-season campaign by hosting regional opponent Lewis (Ill.) on Saturday (Nov. 12) evening at 6 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.