Bulldog Victory Sets Up Saturday Showdown

Bulldog Victory Sets Up Saturday Showdown

Postgame Press Conference
(Head Coach Tracey Dorow)

Postgame Press Conference 
(Sarah DeShone, Kelsey DeNoyelles, Christina Branch)

Big Rapids, Mich. - It took a full 40 minutes, but the Ferris State University women's basketball squad recorded a key 56-53 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) home win over Lake Erie on Thursday (Feb. 9) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena to setup a big league showdown between two ranked teams.

Ferris State, which is ranked 25th nationally this week in the USA Today/ESPN Division II Coaches Poll, improved to 16-4 overall and 13-1 with its 10th consecutive victory.  The Bulldogs, who lead the GLIAC North Division, will next face nationally fifth-ranked Ashland, which leads the GLIAC South Division, on Saturday in Big Rapids.

The Bulldogs bolted out to a 13-point lead with 6:56 to go in the first half against the GLIAC South's second-place team in Lake Erie, but the Storm battled back to trim the deficit to only four points at halftime.

While FSU continued to lead for much of the second half, the Storm never went away in their first-ever trip to Wink Arena.  Ferris State led by seven points with seven minutes to go only to see Lake Erie tie the game up with just under three minutes remaining.

The Storm scored four-straight points to grab a 53-50 advantage with 1:55 to play, but FSU responded.  Freshman forward Christina Branch (Grand Rapids/West Michigan Lutheran) was fouled and hit one free throw to cut the margin to two points and FSU tied the game up as sophomore forward Nikki Arner (Ludington) followed with a bucket inside after a missed free throw with only 90 seconds to play.

After a defensive stop and a timeout, FSU took a 55-53 edge on a bucket from Branch on a sideline inbounds play with 38 seconds left.  Lake Erie's Britt Busson missed a three-point shot and the Storm fouled FSU senior guard Tricia Principe (Kalamazoo/Mattawan), who converted one of two free throws with 1.4 seconds left to account for the final margin.

The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 all-time versus Lake Erie, which is midst its second season as a GLIAC member and dropped to 15-6 overall and 9-5 in league play this season.

Branch paced FSU with a team-high 16 points and 12 rebounds in a double-double showing.  She sank 10-of-14 free throws.  

Meanwhile, three other Bulldog players also reached double-digits with 10 points each from senior guard Kelsey DeNoyelles (Mt. Pleasant/Sacred Heart), sophomore guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown) and Arner.  Principe chipped in with six points while sophomore forward Ashley Rando (Jackson/Northwest) totaled six rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Ferris State shot 45.5% (20-44) from the floor and was 13-of-18 (72.2%) at the free throw line.  FSU made only three-of-11 (27.3%) three's, but allowed Lake Erie to shoot only 32% (16-50) from the floor and four-of-22 (18.2%) beyond the arc.  The Storm converted 17-of-20 (85%) free throw attempts.

The Bulldogs held a decisive 42-21 rebounding edge and grabbed 12 offensive boards to only five for Lake Erie, which led to a 10-6 margin in second chance production.  

However, Lake Erie forced 24 Bulldog turnovers to keep the game close while totaling only 12 miscues of its own.  That helped the Storm post a significant 25-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

FSU tallied 15 assists, four steals and a blocked shot in comparison to Lake Erie's six assists, 10 steals and one block. DeShone netted a game-high seven assists for the Bulldogs while adding a team-high two steals.

Overall, Ferris State outscored Lake Erie 20-14 in the paint.  The lead changed hands four times while the score was also tied at three different points in the contest.

The Bulldogs celebrated "Pink Wave Night" as part of Thursday's activities to help support cancer research.  The teams wore navy blue and pink shooting shirts while players had pink attire, including headbands.  Many fans in attendance also displayed pink colors as FSU teamed up with Colleges vs. Cancer for the third year in a row.

Saturday's showdown between Ferris State and Ashland tips off at 1 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.  The Eagles are currently 21-1 overall and have won 21 consecutive games this season.  They lead the GLIAC South with a perfect 15-0 mark to date this campaign.

Additionally, Saturday will also be "Kidz Day" sponsored by Jet's Pizza with all students in grades K-12 receiving free admission with a paid adult.