Big Rapids, Mich. - It took overtime, but the Ferris State University women's basketball team pulled out an exciting 73-70 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road win over the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Saturday (Feb. 9) to snap a four-game skid at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.
Ferris State jumped in front early and led by as many as 12 points in the opening period before the Wildcats cut the advantage in half as the first period came to a close. In the second half, the Wildcats surged back early and the two teams exchanged leads much of the frame.
The Bulldogs trailed by three points with 34 seconds left in regulation before a four-point possession gave FSU the advantage. Junior guard Sarah DeShone hit a three-pointer and sophomore forward Kara Hess was fouled following the shot and responded by making one of two free throws to give FSU a 61-60 edge. However, NMU's Abbey DeBruin drew a foul with seven seconds left and made one of two free throws and a potential game-winning three-pointer by the Bulldogs was blocked as time expired, which sent the two teams to an extra five-minute session.
In overtime, the Wildcats took a two-point lead with 2:53 remaining before DeShone answered with a jumper to tie the game up. Then, following a turnover, senior guard Kylie Muntz drilled a three-pointer to give Ferris State a three-point lead with 1:20 left to play. Hess followed up a NMU basket with a jumper of her own to give FSU a 71-68 edge with 31 seconds to play and pushed the lead to four by making a free throw with 13 seconds to go.
NMU's Alyssa Colla scored on a lay-in with six seconds remaining in overtime to trim the margin to two points and the Wildcats had one final possession to tie the game after Bulldog freshman April LaCross was fouled and hit one of two free throws with five seconds left. However, the Wildcats could not get off a shot as the horn sounded and the Bulldogs preserved the victory.
Ferris State placed five players in double-figure scoring with both Muntz and DeShone netting a team-high 15 points each. Hess had 13 points as did junior center Felicia Standley off the bench while redshirt freshman Katie Mavis added 10 points in the victory.
NMU was led by Colla's game-high 18 points and the Wildcats received 13 points from Lauren Gruber along with 10 points each by Anna Liewen and Brooke Coenen.
Ferris State shot 41.9% for the day and converted eight-of-21 (38.1%) three's in addition to 13-of-20 (65%) free throws. Meanwhile, the Wildcats sank 40% of their field goals and were five-of-21 (23.8%) from downtown along with 21-of-25 (84%) at the line.
NMU held a 38-34 edge on the glass and came away with 14 offensive rebounds to 13 for the Bulldogs, which helped lead to a 14-8 advantage in second chance production.
However, Ferris State forced 23 Wildcat turnovers and owned a 22-16 margin in points off miscues for the game. FSu also had 10 steals in the contest, including four each from both Muntz and DeShone. Gruber had foru thefts as well for Northern Michigan.
The Bulldogs dished out 18 assists in the game as DeShone totaled nine helpers to go with her 15 points, four rebounds and four steals in the winning effort. Junior forward Ashley Rando added three assists.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 11-9 overall and 10-7 in the GLIAC while NMU fell to 11-10 overall and 8-9 in conference action. The win was FSU's fifth-straight over the Wildcats in the series and the second for the Bulldogs in as many meetings against Northern Michigan this year.
The victory over NMU also allowed the Bulldogs to hold onto fourth place in the GLIAC North as FSU owned a one-game lead over Northern Michigan, Saginaw Valley State and Northwood entering the day's action.
The Bulldogs return home for two league games next week. FSU hosts Northwood this coming Thursday as part of a Valentine's Day clash at Wink Arena with tipoff slated for 8 p.m. (ET). Fans are asked to wear red as part of a "Red Out Effort" and several promotional activities are planned.
Thursday's game is being designated as Resident Appreciation and Healthy Hearts Night. The first 300 on-campus residents thru the door will receive a free shirt while the first 500 fans in attendance will receive a rally towel. There will also be a special halftime drawing for $3,000 worth of prizes.
Following Thursday's contest, the Bulldogs host Lake Superior State next Saturday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. (ET).