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Lady Cardinals Hold Strong Down the Stretch in 64-58 Victory at Ferris State

Jess Alexander went 9-of-12 down the stretch from the foul line for the Lady Cardinals in the victory
Jess Alexander went 9-of-12 down the stretch from the foul line for the Lady Cardinals in the victory

BIG RAPIDS - The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team traveled to Big Rapids to take-on Ferris State University in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division matchup.  In a game that featured eight ties and six lead changes, the Lady Cardinals overcame a two-point halftime deficit, grabbed a second half lead and used solid free throw shooting down the stretch to claim a 64-58 victory over the Bulldogs.

Senior Samantha Zirzow picked up right where she left off after a career night Thursday against GVSU to begin the first half.  She converted back-to-back three-point plays and added another layup for the Lady Cardinals, giving the visitors an early 8-3 lead at the 18:04 marker.

A layup from sophomore Emily Wendling at the 16:06 mark gave SVSU a seven-point advantage at 13-6, which is the largest lead either team would hold for the entire game.

Ferris worked its way back and tied the game at 15-15 with 11 minutes to play in the opening frame.

The Lady Cards would get the lead back out to four points twice more, the latter coming when junior Danielle Carriere drilled a three-pointer to make the score 24-20 with 2:43 showing on the clock.

The Bulldogs scored the next eight points, grabbing a four-point advantage of their own with the score 28-24 and just 38 seconds to play.

An FSU foul would put Carriere on the foul line with 27 ticks left and she would convert on both freebies, cutting the deficit to 28-26.

That's where the score would stand as both teams entered the break with the home team holding the narrow two-point edge.

Zirzow reached double-figures in the first half, scoring 10 points while adding three rebounds and three assists.  Wendling had eight first half points and seven rebounds for SV while Carriere chipped-in with the five first half points.

The second frame was a back-and-forth affair for the first seven minutes, as there were five ties, the eighth and final of the game coming with 13:25 to play when an Ally Christman layup knotted the score at 39-39 for the home team.

The Lady Cardinals would grab the lead right back from there, building a five-point advantage at 48-43 with 7:39 to play after two freebies from Zirzow and a layup from senior Briana Graham.

The Bulldogs cut the SVSU lead to one point (52-51) at the 5:29 marker after a pair of made free throws.

From that point on is where SV buckled-down from the charity stripe, continuing its strong shooting from the line.  It began when freshman Jessica Alexander hit four consecutive freebies to push the lead back out to five points at 56-51 with 4:57 remaining.

After a quick Ferris bucket, neither team scored again until Wendling split a pair of free throws at the 2:25 mark to make the score 57-53.

There would be another mini drought in the game for the teams, as Alexander would score next by hitting on one of two free throw attempts with just 48 seconds left, making the score 58-53.

Solid foul shooting would allow the Lady Cardinals to extend the lead out to six points three times, the final time coming with the final score of 64-58.

Saginaw Valley was 12-of-16 from the foul line down the stretch as part of the 26-of-31 mark it posted for the entire game (83.9%).  Alexander attempted 12 of those 16 shots, making good on nine.

The Lady Cards posted a slim 41-39 edge on the glass in the contest and scored 15 second chance points off of 10 offensive boards.  Ferris held a 22-9 advantage in bench production and a narrow 26-20 edge in the paint.  Neither team shot particularly well overall, as SV posted a mark of 38.3% (18-47) and the Bulldogs hit on 31.8% (21-66) of their shots.  

Emily Wendling posted her 10th double-double of the season, netting 17 points and 13 rebounds.  She was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" for her efforts.  

Zirzow notched 14 points, going 4-of-7 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line while adding five rebounds and five assists.  Alexander added 11 points despite not making a field goal.  She was 11-of-14 from the free throw line and added four boards and three assists.  Graham had a solid effor for SV as well, scoring eight points and adding nine rebounds.

Saginaw Valley improves to 8-19 overall for the season with a 3-18 mark in the GLIAC.  Ferris falls to 11-13 and 9-12 in league play after the defeat.  The Lady Cards have one game left for the 2014-15 season, a matchup at Hillsdale College on Thursday, February 26th at 6:00 pm.  The teams met earlier this year, with the Chargers posting a 67-49 win on February 2nd.