Bulldogs Beat GVSU For Seventh-Straight Win

FSU's Christina Branch defends in Saturday's game against GVSU (Photo by Rob Bentley)

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(Coach Tracey Dorow & Sarah DeShone)

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's basketball squad held off an inspired Grand Valley State squad to win their seventh consecutive game this season with a 58-50 triumph in the West Michigan rivalry game on Saturday (Jan. 28) at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

The Bulldogs led by only three points at halftime, but held on to beat the Lakers before a large crowd and improve to 13-4 on the year and 10-1 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play.  FSU holds a commanding lead in the GLIAC North Division standings as second place Michigan Tech fell to Hillsdale on Saturday to drop to 8-4 in conference play.

Saturday's rivalry contest featured five lead changes and the score was tied on six occassions.  FSU built its largest lead of the game at 11 points with 3:15 to go in the opening half, but GVSU closed the period on a 8-0 run to pull within 28-25 at the break.

The Lakers continued their run to start the second half as they scored the six points to grab a 31-28 advantage. The Bulldogs finally tied it back up with 11:03 remaining.  FSU surged in front and led by eight points with 3:11 to go.

GVSU connected on a pair of free throws to trim the margin to only three points with 1:42 left, but Bulldog sophomore guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown) hit a jumper to push the lead back to five and FSU followed with a stop on the defensive end.

Ferris State closed the game by making five free throws in the final 40 seconds.

DeShone paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 21 points in the contest, which included nine-of-12 free throws.  Senior guard Tricia Principe (Kalamazoo/Mattawan) chipped in with 13 points and also hit nine free throws (9-10) as FSU finished by making 25-of-34 (73.5%) tries from the charity stripe.

Ferris State shot only 34.1% (15-44) for the day, but limited GVSU to only 31.1% (14-45) overall.  The Bulldogs were three-of-15 (20%) beyond the arc compared to Grand Valley State's five-of-20 (25%) effort.  The Lakers hit 17-of-20 (85%) free throws as 39% of the total points in the game for both teams came at the line.

Briauna Taylor kept it close much of the way for the injury-plagued Lakers as she recorded 20 points, but was the lone GVSU player to reach double-digit scoring.

FSU owned a 35-28 rebounding advantage and totaled 11 offensive boards to seven for Grand Valley State, which helped lead to a decisive 11-2 edge in second chance production.
 
The Bulldogs limited their turnovers to 10 for the game as compared to GVSU's 12 and owned a 16-10 margin in points off miscues.  FSU had one blocked shot, five steals and five assists with GVSU netting two blocks, eight assists and eight steals.

Both sophomore forward Nikki Arner (Ludington) and freshman forward Christina Branch (Grand Rapids/West Michigan Lutheran) totaled seven rebounds apiece for the Bulldogs and FSU also totaled 18 points in the paint to only eight for the Lakers.

Overall, the game featured seven lead changes and the score was tied nine times.

With the loss, Grand Valley State fell to 9-10 overall and 6-6 in league action.  The win was the Bulldogs' 14th versus the Lakers all-time under head coach Tracey Dorow and the two teams have now split the last 10 series' matchups.

FSU's women's basketball win combined with the Bulldogs' 65-57 triumph in the men's game gave Ferris State a sweep over Grand Valley State in the doubleheader.  It marks the first time the Bulldogs have swept FSU in a doubleheader since doing it twice during the 2003-04 season.  Both Bulldog teams currently reside in first place in the GLIAC North Division standings.

The Bulldogs continue their five-game league homestand by hosting Lake Superior State on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. (ET) inside Jim Wink Arena.  FSU then hosts Saginaw Valley State on Saturday, Feb. 4, starting at 1 p.m. (ET).

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