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Lady Cardinals Lose Hard-Fought Game to No. 19 Huskies

Freshman Abby Schlicher scored a career-high 14 points against Michigan Tech
Freshman Abby Schlicher scored a career-high 14 points against Michigan Tech

UNIVERSITY CENTER – The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team hosted the nation's 19th-ranked team in Michigan Tech University on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 24) at SVSU's James E. O'Neill Jr. Arena.  The Lady Cardinals held a second half lead but could not hold on against the Huskies and fell by a final score of 69-61.

Freshman Jessica Alexander followed up her career night by scoring the first four points for the Lady Cardinals to begin the contest.  Her second layup gave SVSU a 4-3 lead at the 17:32 marker.

The Huskies fought back and opened up a six-point lead (14-8), but eight-straight points, capped by sophomore Abby Schlicher's made jumper, put the Cardinals back on top by a score of 16-14 with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half.

Michigan Tech answered a Samantha Zirzow layup with a three-pointer to put the visitors on top 20-18 at the 8:02 mark; a lead that the Huskies did not relinquish the remainder of the half.  A pair of Emily Wendling free throws pulled the Cards back within one point (25-24) with about three minutes showing on the clock.

MTU scored the final 10-of-14 points in the half to take a 35-28 advantage into the halftime break. Alexander and Wendling led the way for the Cardinals in the opening 20 minutes, each scoring eight points.  Schlicher chipped-in with six points and two assists.

SVSU shot an impressive 61.1%(11-18) from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe in the first half.  The Huskies scored 18 points off of 14 Cardinal turnovers to take the seven-point lead into the locker room.

Schlicher opened the second half by knocking down a pair of triples in the first four minutes to cut the Tech lead down to three points (41-38).  Junior Alex Green would later drain her first three-pointer of the contest at the 15:03 mark to give the Cardinals their first lead (43-41) of the second half.

A three-point play by Alexander gave the home team its largest lead of the game at 46-43 with just under 13 minutes showing on the game clock.  The Huskies then answered a Zirzow layup with 10 consecutive points to regain the lead, 55-48 with 7:44 to play.

Two freebies from Wendling cut the Husky lead down to four points (56-52), which is as close as the Cards would get the remainder of the game.  MTU opened its largest lead at nine points (65-56) at the 2:22 mark and was able to hold on for the 69-61 victory.

Schlicher played her best game to-date in a Cardinal uniform as she was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" for her performance.  The sophomore scored a career-high 14 points on five-of-eight shooting and was two-for-three from behind the arc.  She hauled-in four rebounds and had a pair of assists as well.

Wendling netted a team-high 18 points on six-of-eight shooting, including a perfect six-for-six from the charity stripe.  She had a team-best seven rebounds in the effort.  Alexander scored in double-figures for the second consecutive game, finishing with 13 points.

SVSU shot 56.1 percent (23-41) from the field, but Tech scored 34 points off of 26 Cardinal turnovers.  The Lady Cardinals held the advantage on the glass (31-20) and points off the bench (16-6).

Saginaw Valley returns to the floor on Thursday night (Jan. 29) at Grand Valley State University.  Tip-off is set for 6 pm at GVSU's Fieldhouse Arena.  The Cardinals defeated the Lakers in both meetings last season, including an 18-point victory in Allendale.