HILLSDALE - The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team traveled to Hillsdale College for its final contest of the 2014-15 regular season. After a pair of solid showings the past two games, the Lady Cardinals did not disappoint in the season finale, having five players score in double-figures in a 79-71 victory over the Chargers.
After the Chargers took the lead to begin the game, SV used back-to-back buckets from junior Danielle Carriere to make the score 14-11 at the 13:41 marker.
Trailing 30-23 with 4:10 remaining in the half, the Lady Cardinals rattled-off 11 consecutive points to grab a one-point advantage at 31-30 at the 2:14 marker. The run was capped by consecutive baskets from senior Samantha Zirzow.
A Charger basket gave the home team a brief lead next, but Saginaw Valley closed the half with a 5-0 run after an Alex Green three-pointer and jumpers from Abby Schlicher and Shelby Herrington to take a 38-34 edge at the break.
Sophomore Emily Wendling led the way offensively for the Cards in the opening 20 minutes. The 6-3 forward had 12 first half points while Carriere added seven.
Leading 40-39 with 18 minutes left to play, SVSU went on an 11-0 run to grab its largest lead of the game at 51-39 at the 15:39 marker. The run was finished-off by a pair of Zirzow free throws.
The Chargers drew to within three points with the score 66-63 and 5:25 to play in the game, but SV responded quickly with good field goals from Schlicher and Carriere to push the lead out to 70-63 with 4:37 showing on the clock.
Saginaw Valley would hold the lead the rest of the way, as a Schlicher layup with two seconds remaining gave the Lady Cardinals an eight-point lead at 79-71. That is what the final score would read once the clock struck zeros.
The Lady Cards had a solid shooting effort in the game, posting a 51.9% (28-54) mark for the game compared to Hillsdale's 37.1% (26-70). SVSU held a 34-32 edge in points in the paint and overcame 25 Charger second-chance points from 20 offensive rebounds. The visitors also posted a 25-14 edge in bench points on the night.
Zirzow and Wendling each had a team-high 16 points, with Zirzow adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Wendling had two boards and two assists as well. Zirzow was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" in her 106th and final game in an SVSU uniform.
There were three other SV players in double-figures, with Schlicher posting 12 points, Carriere 11 points with four assists and Jessica Alexander adding 10.
Alex Green chipped-in with eight points and five boards in the season finale. Herrington posted six points and four rebounds and Briana Graham had four boards, two assists and a steal in their final contest as well.
Saginaw Valley finishes its 2014-15 season with a 9-19 overall record and 4-18 mark in the GLIAC. The Lady Cardinals ended on a high note, posting victories in their last two contests. SV graduates three seniors, as Zirzow, Herrington and Graham all have completed their SVSU playing careers.