Big Rapids, Mich. - A strong start enabled the Ferris State University women's basketball team jump in front early, but the Bulldogs couldn't hold on as Saginaw Valley State came from behind to beat the Bulldogs 71-66 in FSU's regular-season home finale on Saturday (Feb. 23) afternoon inside Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs bolted out to a 12-point lead only six minutes into the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game and took a five-point lead into the break, but SVSU rallied in the second half to pull out the win.
Ferris State honored four student-athletes prior to warmpus as part of the school's annual "Senior Day" contest and their inspired play helped the Bulldogs off on the right foot. Senior guard Kylie Muntz finished with 12 points and a game-high seven assists in her final home tilt while Felicia Standley also scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds for FSU. Caitlin Carmody also started her last game inside Wink Arena and played five minutes with senior Katy Fox, who has missed the year with an injury, also honored during the pregame ceremony.
Muntz and Standley played a key role in the first half along with junior guard Sarah DeShone, who finished with a game-high 18 points. She hit four-of-six three's, but tallied 16 of her points in the opening frame as the Cardinals limited her to only two points in the final 20 minutes. Junior forward Ashley Rando also reached double-digits with 10 points in the outing.
The game featured only a single lead change as the Cardinals grabbed their first lead of the day on a three-pointer from Katelyn Carriere with 8:44 remaining. She led SVSU with 14 points on the afternoon and the Cardinals also received 13 points off the bench by Kayla Womack along with 10 points from both Emily Wendling and Samantha Zirzow.
The Cardinals shot 50% for the day and hit eight-of-19 (42.1%) three's along with 13-of-19 (68.4%) free throws. SVSU built its largest lead of the day at six points with 2:28 remaining and was able to sink six free throws in the final minute after Muntz had hit a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to bring the Bulldogs back within two points with 47 seconds left.
On the Bulldog side, FSU shot 42.4% for the afternoon, but only 28.6% in the second half. Ferris State was eight-of-18 (44.4%) behind the three-point line and made all eight of its free throws in the game.
The Bulldogs were outrebounded by the Cardinals 35-26 for the day as SVSU pulled down eight offensive boards to six for the Bulldogs. Despite the discrepancy, Ferris State did manage to outscore the Cardinals 9-2 in second chance production.
Ferris State also posted a slim 17-16 margin in points off turnovers after forcing 17 SVSU miscues to only 14 of their own. That also helped the Bulldogs register eight steals to five for the Cardinals, including two each from Muntz and redshirt freshman guard Katie Mavis. She added six assists to go with the seven from Muntz as part of the Bulldogs' 18 total helpers.
Saginaw Valley State's big advantage came in the paint where they outscored FSU 24-10 for the day. Wendling added a game-high 12 boards in a double-double effort while DeShone paced FSU with six caroms.
The Bulldogs dropped to 13-11 overall and 12-9 in the conference with the setback while SVSU improved to 13-12 overall and moved within a game of FSU in the GLIAC North with an 11-10 record. It was the second narrow Saginaw Valley State win over FSU this season following an earlier 73-70 overtime triumph in University Center on Jan. 26. FSU had won 21 of the previous 28 matchups in the series entering the game.
Ferris State will close out the regular-season by visiting West Michigan rival Grand Valley State next Saturday (March 2)
evening in Allendale. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET) inside the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena for the second meeting between the two rivals this year.
Following Saturday's action, the Bulldogs remain fourth in the GLIAC North Division and have officially clinched a GLIAC Tournament berth. FSU is presently a game in front of Saginaw Valley State for the number six seed overall heading into the regular-season finale at GVSU.