ALLENDALE – The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team hit the road on Thursday night (Jan. 29) for its first of three games in a five day stretch as the Lady Cardinals traveled to Grand Valley State University for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matchup. Freshman Jessica Alexander netted a career-high in points (21) and senior Samantha Zirzow reached the 1,000 point mark, but that was not enough as the Cardinals fell by a final score of 69-59 to the Lakers.
Alexander scored the game's first five points to put the visitors up 5-0 in the first minute of play. Grand Valley responded with the next six points to take a 6-5 lead at the 16:43 mark.
The Cardinals regained the lead after scoring on three consecutive possessions, including a pair of triples by sophomore Abby Schlicher and Alexander, to make the score 15-12 with just under 14 minutes to play in the opening half.
GVSU used a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half at 28-19 at the 8:19 marker. Six-straight points by Alexander over a span of 3:28 brought the Cards back to within three points at 28-25 with 4:40 remaining in the first half. The SVSU defense held the Lakers scoreless for a 4:44 span to cut into the Grand Valley lead.
The Cardinals tied the game at 30 following Alexander's third triple of the half at the 1:54 marker. GVSU scored the final five points to take a 35-30 lead into the halftime break.
Alexander topped her previous career-high of 17 points, netting 19 in the first 20 minutes against the Lakers. She was 6-for-11 from the floor, including a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. The freshman hauled-in a pair of boards and recorded an assist, block, and steal in the opening frame as well. Sophomore Emily Wendling chipped-in with six points and four rebounds.
Zirzow opened the second half by scoring the Lady Cardinals' first six points to bring the away team within one point (37-36) at the 17:20 marker. The six points by Zirzow gave the senior 1,000 for her career. She is the 17th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
GVSU responded to the back-to-back Zirzow layups by scoring the next 12 points to open up a 49-36 lead with just over 13 minutes to play in the second half. The Lakers led by as many as 15 points and maintained the double-digit lead for the rest of the game.
SVSU scored on three straight possessions to cut the deficit down to 11 points (65-54) with just under three minutes to play, but GVSU scored four straight points to push its lead back out to 15 points with less than two minutes left.
Alexander finished with a career-best 21 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block and was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" for the second time this season.
Zirzow finished with 12 points, all coming in the second half, and hauled-in six rebounds. Wendling added 10 points and eight boards in the game.
SVSU shot 39.3 percent (24-61) from the floor, but was an impressive 55.6 percent (5-9) from downtown. GVSU scored 18 points off of 16 Cardinal turnovers.
Saginaw Valley returns home for a matchup with the Ferris State University Bulldogs (8-8, 6-7 GLIAC) on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 31). Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 pm at James E. O'Neill Jr. Arena. The game is part of SVSU's 7th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event, where survivors will be recognized and honored during halftime.