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SVSU Women Fall in Home Opener to Eagles

Freshman Jess Alexander had a career-best 13 points in her first home game as a Lady Cardinal
Freshman Jess Alexander had a career-best 13 points in her first home game as a Lady Cardinal

UNIVERSITY CENTER - The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team played its first home contest of the 2014-15 season on Sunday afternoon, as the Lady Cardinals hosted the Ashland University Eagles in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matchup in the newly-renovated James E. O'Neill Jr. Arena.  After taking an early lead, SVSU fell to Ashland in the contest by a final score of 70-56.

The Cardinal Ladies grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the game as sophomore Emily Wendling opened the game's scoring by converting on a three-point play at the 18:45 mark.

Ashland knotted the score three times with ties at five, seven and nine points-apiece but a jumper from junior Danielle Carriere would give SV an 11-9 advantage at the 14:02 marker.

The Eagles went on a 9-0 run from that point, taking an 18-11 edge with 10:04 remaining in the first half.  They would extend the lead to 21 points after a layup with nine seconds left on the clock and entered the halftime break with a 42-21 lead.

AU held the shooting advantage in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 50.0% (20-40) while the Lady Cards posted a 27.3% mark (6-22).  The Eagles had 16 second chance points off of 11 offensive boards and had a 30-6 edge in the paint.

Saginaw Valley began the second frame with a bit of fire, as freshman Jessica Alexander and Carriere made back-to-back buckets for a 5-0 run and cut the lead to 42-26 at the 18:18 mark.

Two consecutive buckets beginning at the 11:01 and 10:34 markers from senior Samantha Zirzow and Alexander would cut into the Eagle lead again and make the score 54-42.

That's as close as SV would get as Ashland would extend the lead and hold an 18-point edge with 2:26 left to play and the score 70-52.  

The Lady Cardinals netted the final four points of the game on a pair of free throws by Alexander and a layup from Zirzow to make the score 70-56.  That is what the final score would read as time expired for the contest.

Carriere led the way for SVSU, scoring a career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting with six rebounds while playing a team-high 37 minutes.  She was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" for her performance.

Zirzow netted 13 points and six boards for SV while Alexander had 13 points, three rebounds and three assists.  The 13 points was a high for her young career as well.

Saginaw Valley (4-4, 0-3 GLIAC) remains on its home floor on Tuesday (Dec. 16) for a 6:00 pm contest with Lake Erie (5-3, 1-2 GLIAC) at O'Neill Arena.  The Lady Cardinals hold a 3-1 edge over the Storm in the all-time series and have won two in a row against the conference opponent from Painesville, Ohio.