UNIVERSITY CENTER – The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team hosted a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division matchup as it welcomed the Northern Michigan University Wildcats to O'Neill Arena on Thursday (Jan. 22) evening. Despite a career night from freshman guard Jessica Alexander, the Lady Cardinals fell by a final score of 62-46.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the gate, as the game remained scoreless through the first 3:38. Sophomore Emily Wendling put the Cardinals on the board, however, as she connected on a three-point play to make the score 3-1 with 16:13 on the clock.
Following a Samantha Zirzow jumper at the 12:05 mark to pull the Cards within one point (8-7), the Wildcats answered by scoring the next seven points to take a 15-7 lead with 10 and a half minutes remaining.
Northern Michigan took its largest lead of the first half at 11 points (20-9) with under eight minutes to play. After the teams traded baskets, Alexander scored the game's next seven points to cut the deficit to 22-18 with 3:20 left on the clock in the opening half.
Each team managed four more points to round out the scoring in the opening frame and make the score 26-22 as the teams headed into the halftime break.
SVSU out-rebounded NMU by a 22-19 margin and out-scored the visitors in second-chance points (6-0), but only shot 28.1 percent (9-for-32) from the floor.
Alexander led the way for the Lady Cardinals in the first 20 minutes as she scored nine points and pulled-down five rebounds. Zirzow and senior Briana Graham each chipped-in with four points.
NMU opened up its first double-digit lead of the second half (40-30) with just under 15 minutes to play. The 10 point deficit was as close as the Cards would get the remainder of the contest. The Wildcats' largest lead of the game was 19 points (57-38) at the 7:26 marker.
Back-to-back layups by Wendling and Alexander would cut into that lead a bit and make the score 57-42 with six minutes remaining in the second half.
Sophomore Mikayla Silm scored her first points of the season with a pair of free throws with 52 seconds left in the game to make the final score 62-46.
Alexander was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" as she scored a career-high 17 points and also hauled-in a career-best seven rebounds. The freshman dished-out three assists and had two steals in the contest as well.
Graham scored a season-high 12 points on four-of-eight shooting from the field and had a team-high eight boards. Wendling chipped-in with five points and seven rebounds.
Saginaw Valley (6-11, 1-10 GLIAC) returns to its home court on Saturday (Jan. 24) afternoon against the nationally 19th-ranked Michigan Tech University Huskies (14-1, 10-1 GLIAC). Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 pm at SVSU's James E. O'Neill Jr. Arena.