Big Rapids, Mich. - Strong front court production lifted the Ferris State University women's basketball squad past visiting Wayne State in a tightly-contested Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter by a 75-71 score on Sunday (Jan. 3) afternoon inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The host Bulldogs picked up their first win of the 2016 calendar year and evened their league record at 3-3 on the year by pulling out a hard-fought win over the Warriors, who dropped to 6-6 overall this season.
The Warriors led by as many as 10 points in the opening half and held a 39-33 halftime lead against the Bulldogs as both teams played their second contest in as many days in league action. However, Ferris State outscored Wayne State 23-15 in the third quarter to climb back into the contest and it was close down the stretch before FSU prevailed in the end.
"I'm so proud of our girls and the way they competed to pull this one out," said FSU head coach Kendra Faustin. "They have been resilient all season and it showed today. We made some big plays down the stretch."
The Bulldogs received a game-high 24 points each from forwards Alexis Huntey and Rachel McInerney en route to the triumph. The duo played a key role in FSU's second half surge despite battling foul trouble down the stretch. McInerney hit a pair of key free throws in the closing seconds to help seal the win.
Along with her 24 points, Huntey added 12 rebounds, seven assists, two blocked shots and a steal in only her fourth collegiate regular-season contest. The all-conference volleyball standout, who joined the basketball team prior to the holiday break, posted her second-straight double-double effort on the weekend and played 36 minutes in the game.
McInerney also had a big afternoon as she sank six-of-seven free throws and made nine-of-14 shots from the floor on her way to a 24-point showing. The sophomore standout totaled seven boards, three assists, a steal and a block in 37 minutes of work.
While the two frontcourt players led the way, the Bulldogs also received production from all nine players who saw action. Freshman guard Alexis Bush hit three treys on the day and finished with 15 points after a strong second-half spurt. Fellow freshman guard Margo Brown also hit a big three and totaled five points in the outing.
Ferris State, which played inside Wink Arena for only the third time this year, shot 51% overall for the game and sank six-of-21 (28.6%) three's. The Bulldogs also converted 17-of-23 (73.9%) free throws.
On the defensive side, the Bulldogs limited Wayne State to 32.4% shooting with the Warriors sinking six-of-26 (23.1%) treys and 19-of-20 (95%) free throws.
Wayne State was led by Ashley Wilson, who netted a team-high 22 points off the bench. Shannon Wilson contributed 11 points while both Brittany Streetman and Ajai Meeks tallied 10 points apiece in the setback.
FSU outrebounded the Warriors 38-36 for the game although Wayne State pulled down 20 offensive boards to 11 for the Bulldogs, which led to a 22-9 margin in second chance scoring.
The Warriors also forced 25 FSU turnovers, but had 16 of their own.
Ferris State, though, distributed the ball well offensively as FSU dished out 24 assists, including eight from sophomore guard Hannah Evo along with seven from Huntey. The Bulldogs also had both five blocked shots and five steals.
In comparison, Wayne State totaled 12 assists to go with 13 steals and a pair of blocks in a game that featured five lead changes and was tied seven times.
Ferris State will hit the road for a pair of games in Ohio this week as the Bulldogs venture to Canton to face Malone on Thursday (Jan. 7) and Walsh on Saturday (Jan. 9). Thursday's game at Malone tips off at 6 p.m. (ET). Both games can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Following the trip to Ohio, FSU returns home to entertain Michigan Tech on Jan. 14 along with Northern Michigan on Jan. 16 inside Wink Arena.
Late Surge Lifts Ferris State Women's Basketball To First Win Of 2016
|Wayne State (6-6, 1-5 GLIAC)||23||16||15||17||71|
|Ferris State (3-9, 3-3 GLIAC)||15||18||23||19||75|