February 20, 2014

Ferris State Knocks Off #21 Wayne State In Home Contest With Big Second Half

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's basketball team overcame a nine-point deficit with 17 minutes to play en route to a 85-77 upset of nationally 21st-ranked Wayne State on Thursday (Feb. 20) night in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

The Bulldogs and Warriors battled most of the night in a game that featured seven lead changes and came on the heels of a 88-83 Wayne State win earlier this season in a memorable matchup in the Motor City. In the second showdown on Thursday night, Ferris State jumped out to an eight-point lead only six minutes into the game before the Warriors charged back to take a 41-35 halftime lead.

Wayne State started the second half quickly by boosting the lead up to nine points less than three minutes into the frame, but Ferris State responded. FSU scored nine-straight points over a three-plus minute span to tie the game back up with 10:32 to play and eventually surged ahead by three on a pair of free throws from senior guard Sarah DeShone with nine minutes to play.

From there, the two teams exchanged leads until FSU eventually grabbed the advantage for good with seven minutes remaining in the contest. FSU's lead was cut to a single point with 3:48 left, however Ferris State answered with a three-point play from DeShone to push the margin back to four. 

Down the stretch, the Bulldogs got a pair of key offensive baskets on drives to the bucket from sophomore guard Destiney Robinson along with a critical three-pointer from sophomore guard Katie Mavis with 1:17 left, which stretched FSU's lead to six points at 79-73. FSU then made six free thorws in the final 49 seconds to secure the victory.

The Bulldogs connected on 18-of-29 (62.1%) field goals in the second half while sinking 11-of-12 (91.7%) free throws in the final 20 minutes of action. Defensively, FSU also limited Wayne State to only 35% shooting in the second frame, including a one-of-six (16.7%) effort behind the three-point stripe.

DeShone paced the Bulldogs with 16 points, which included 15 in the second half. She also added 10 assists in notching a double-double performance and tallied three steals along with three rebounds.

Her performance was aided by Robinson, who netted 14 points and four assists off the bench. FSU also received a solid interior contribution from sophomore forward April Watson with 12 points and a team-high tying six rebounds to go with four blocked shots. Finally, Mavis chipped in 11 points in the win.

The efforts of Robinson, Watson and Mavis were critical as the Bulldogs' top three scorers of DeShone, sophomore guard Dena Droste and sophomore forward Christina Branch were limited to a combined one point in the first half. Droste bounced back to score eight points in the second half, including four free throws in the final minute, while Branch scored four points and also had six rebounds despite battling foul trouble most of the game.

Wayne State was led by standout center Shareta Brown, who totaled 19 points and a game-best 15 boards in a double-double performance. Imari Redfield added to the Warrior cause with 15 points, Jackie Jones scored 12 points and Kayla Bridges totaled 11 points off the bench.

Overall, Ferris State shot 50.8% for the game compared to WSU's 39.7% figure. FSU was five-of-13 (38.5%) beyond the three-point arc and 16-of-18 (88.9%) at the line with Wayne State finishing four-of-10 (40%) from downtown and 19-of-22 (86.4%) at the stripe.

The Warriors owned a slim 39-37 rebounding margin and came up with 18 offensive boards to 12 for the Bulldogs with both teams netting 16 second chance points for the game.

Ferris State managed to outscore Wayne State narrowly by a 17-16 count in points off turnovers after forcing 14 WSU miscues. The Bulldogs had 13 turnovers of their own and totaled nine steals along with eight blocked shots to 10 steals and three blocks for the Warriors.

A large majority of the game's scoring came in the paint where Wayne State held a 44-42 edge, but the Bulldogs held a decisive 43-15 figure in bench production behind the double-digit performances from Robinson, Watson and Mavis.

With the win, the Bulldogs still remain in contention for a potential GLIAC Tournament berth with three games left in the regular season. FSU improved to 8-13 overall and 8-11 in league play with Wayne State dropping to 19-5 overall and 16-4 in conference action.

Ferris State's eight league wins trail Saginaw Valley State, Grand Valley State and Northwood's 11 conference victories for perhaps the final spots in the GLIAC North, but the Bulldogs still have a pair of games against SVSU and a single game versus GVSU left on the regular-season slate.

The Bulldogs will visit Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 22) for a 5 p.m. (ET) league tilt inside O'Neill Arena in University Center, Mich. FSU then returns home to host GVSU on Thursday (Feb. 27) at 6 p.m. (ET) before a rescheduled home contest against SVSU next Saturday (March 1) at Wink Arena.

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