FSU at Grand Valley State, 6 p.m.
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This Week's Action: The Ferris State University women's basketball squad wraps up a three-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road swing by visiting West Michigan archrival Grand Valley State on Monday (Jan. 30) night at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. FSU then returns home to host Saginaw Valley State on Thursday (Feb. 2) inside Wink Arena before visting Wayne State on Saturday (Feb. 4).
Last Week's Results: The Bulldogs suffered a pair of road setbacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as FSU fell at Northern Michigan 66-42 on Thursday (Jan. 26) before dropping a 70-56 decision at Michigan Tech on Saturday (Jan. 28). The week before, FSU battled divisional leader Saginaw Valley State to overtime on the road before falling 70-68 and then came back to beat Wayne State 83-80 score inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
Media Coverage: All of this week's action will be carried live on flagship station Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. For a full listing of links for this weekend, including live internet stats and video coverage, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Current Record: Ferris State currently holds a 4-15 overall record to date this year and is 3-10 in GLIAC action to date this campaign. The Bulldogs won two of their first three conference encounters, which included an exciting 62-58 victory at home over Findlay on Dec. 4 when FSU rallied from an 18-point deficit to notch the triumph. The win over Wayne State last week was FSU's second victory of the New Year.
A New Era: A Michigan native and former NCAA Division I head coach returned to her home state to guide the Ferris State women's basketball program as Kendra (Harris) Faustin became the Bulldogs' new head coach prior to last season, replacing former head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate after three years at the helm. Faustin, who competed collegiately in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) at Lake Superior State and later served as an assistant coach within the league at Hillsdale, brings considerable NCAA Division I head coaching experience to the position after having served the previous eight years as the head coach at Niagara in Lewiston, N.Y. She became the seventh head coach in the 41-year history of Bulldog women's basketball.
The FSU Lineup: Second-year head coach Kendra Faustin, who formerly was the head coach at NCAA Division I Niagara University, welcomed back six squad members from a year ago for her first campaign, but the Bulldogs battled injuries last season. The squad posted a 5-23 overall record, but featured a youthful team with nine new faces in the program. FSU lost only a single senior from last year in guard Katie Mavis, who was a four-year letterwinner in the FSU lineup, but missed some time last year due to injury.
Scouting GVSU: Grand Valley State holds a 14-5 overall record and is 9-4 in the GLIAC this year under head coach Mike Williams. The Lakers have won seven of their last 10 contests after reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight last season. They are coming off a 56-53 road win at Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 28). Both Piper Tucker and Morley-Stanwood native Bailey Cairnduff are averaging a team-high 9.7 points per game.
GLIAC Player of Week: Junior forward Rachel McInerney was named last week's GLIAC North Division Player of the Week. The standout scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with three steals and three blocks in her return to her hometown as FSU suffered a 70-68 OT loss at Saginaw Valley State. She came back last Saturday to help FSU snap a four-game losing skid by totaling a team-high 22 points with 14 rebounds, four blocks and a steal in an 83-80 victory over Wayne State. In the two games, McInerney shot 46.7 percent from the floor and went 12-of-15 from the line. She totaled 40 points, 24 rebounds, seven blocks and four steals for the week while averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.0 steals.
Preseason All-GLIAC: Bulldog junior center Rachel McInerney (Saginaw/Nouvel) was chosen to the GLIAC Preseason North Division First Team. Last year, McInerney garnered All-GLIAC Second Team laurels for the Bulldogs as she produced 20 points or more in five games. She started all 28 outings last season and averaged a team-leading 15 points along with seven rebounds per game. She grabbed 10 boards or more in seven outings and shot 50% from the floor along with 73% at the free throw line.
The Book On Faustin: During her eight seasons as Niagara's head coach, Kendra Faustin recruited and coached 10 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) players, one MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, two MAAC Rookie of the Years, four All-MAAC Rookie Team players and more than 40 MAAC All-Academic Team student-athletes. Three former players also went on to compete in professional basketball and the program compiled a perfect score in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) under her direction.
The 2010 MAAC Coach of the Year, Faustin directed the resurgence of the Niagara women's basketball program in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as the Purple Eagles earned back-to-back 9-9 marks in the MAAC as well as two postseason victories in each conference tournament. The squad's 15 victories in 2012-13 were the most for the program in nearly a decade and the team's semifinal league tournament finish marked the first time in program history that Niagara made consecutive MAAC Tournament semifinal appearances.
In her tenure at Niagara, Faustin led the squad to three MAAC Tournament Final Four showings in a four-year span and the squad's cumulative GPA was 3.0 or higher in each of her eight seasons at the helm. She also helped facilitate the most financial giving in program history in 2013 and led all aspects of the NCAA Division I women's basketball program. In 2011-12, her squad ranked as the fifth-most improved team at the NCAA-I level on the floor.
The Assistant Coach: Ferris State University women's basketball head coach Kendra Faustin announced the appointment of Michigan native Sharonda Hurd as the program's assistant coach prior to last year. A former Central Michigan University women's basketball standout, Hurd had spent the past five seasons as the assistant coach at Olivet College, where she also served as the Comets' senior women's administrator for four years. In 2013-14, Hurd helped guide the Comets to a school all-time best 22-4 overall record under head coach Nicole Burford as Olivet placed second in the MIAA standings and was ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll for the first time in school history. While at CMU, Hurd was a four-year letterwinner on the basketball team and served as co-captain during her senior season. As a collegian, Hurd led the Chippewas in rebounding three years and was honored as the Dee Pommerank Award recipient for Most Improved Player. She was CMU's second-leading scorer as a senior.
Last League Tourney Berth: Ferris State entered the 2016-17 campaign hoping to return to the GLIAC Postseason Tourney for the first time since 2012-13 when the Bulldogs finished with a 13-13 overall record and a 12-10 league mark while reaching the conference tournament for the 14th time in program history.
Series History: GVSU holds a 60-28 advantage heading into Monday's 89th encounter. The Lakers have claimed 18 of the last 28 series' matchups to date. Last year, the Lakers won both matchups by scores of 97-60 in Big Rapids and 80-46 in Allendale. Overall, Grand Valley State has now captured the last four games with FSU's last victory coming by a 59-56 count in Big Rapids three years ago (2/27/14). FSU has won seven of the last 19 matchups overall heading into Monday's clash.
What's Coming Up: After Monday's contest at Grand Valley State, Ferris State plays five of its final seven regular-season games back at home inside Jim Wink Arena. A total of four of the final five games are on the Bulldogs' home floor following this Saturday's trip to Wayne State.
Thursday Night Home Action: The Bulldogs have yet to play an evening home game this year inside their home facility, Wink Arena. However, Ferris State will play at home on four consecutive Thursday nights in the month of February with competition against SVSU (Feb. 2), Lake Superior State (Feb. 9), Northern Michigan (Feb. 16) and the regular-season finale against rival GVSU (Feb. 23).