Canton, Ohio - The Ferris State University women's basketball team had an opportunity to steal a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory on the road with the game's final possession, but the Bulldogs fell short in a 46-44 league loss to Malone on Thursday (Jan. 9) at Osborne Hall in Canton, Ohio.
Ferris State, which was making its first-ever trip to the Hall of Fame City, grabbed a key defensive rebound off a missed free throw with 10 seconds to play. FSU was fouled and forced to inbound from halfcourt with less than three seconds remaining, but could not convert and the Pioneers managed to escape with the win.
The Bulldog setback came in the second-ever series' matchup between the two teams and on the heels of a one-point FSU victory a year ago in the first meeting held in Big Rapids at Jim Wink Arena.
Both teams struggled shooting the basketball most of the night as FSU shot at only a 34.7% (17-49) clip and Malone hit only only 17-of-50 (34%) tries. Ferris State made five-of-17 (29.4%) three's compared to MU's four-of-21 (19%) effort.
Senior guard Sarah DeShone was the lone Bulldog player to reach double-figure scoring as she finished with 12 points in the game. Sophomore center Christina Branch added nine points and a game-high seven rebounds with sophomore Dena Droste adding eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
Meanwhile, both Sydnee Penn and Selana Reale matched DeShone for game-high points with 12 points each in leading the host Pioneers.
Malone managed to hit eight-of-13 (61.5%) free throws with FSU making five-of-seven (71.4%) attempts from the charity stripe.
The Pioneers also forced 17 Bulldog turnoves and held a 19-10 edge in points off miscues, which proved to be a deciding factor in the game despite the fact they also had 17 turnovers of their own.
Both teams managed to grab 34 rebounds and Malone came up with 13 offensive boards to 12 for the Bulldogs as the numbers were virtually even.
Ferris State sprinted out quickly and led by as many as five points only three minutes into the game. However, the Pioneers rebounded to take a 26-22 halftime lead and pushed the advantage to as many as 10 points with 10:50 remaining before the Bulldogs battled back.
FSU eventually tied the game with 2:31 to play before a made free throw along with a layup following a Bulldog turnover put the score in Malone's favor with 1:34 remaining. Ferris State cut the margin to a single point with 1:14 to go and neither team scored from that point forward until the Pioneers' Logan Pastor hit the first of two free throws with 10 seconds left to setup the final possession.
Overall, the lead changed hands three times and the game was tied twice on the night.
The Bulldogs, who are midst a four-game road stretch, will wrap up this week's trip to Ohio as they face Walsh on Saturday (Jan. 11) starting at 1 p.m. (ET) in Canton. FSU then heads to Michigan's Upper Peninsula next week to face Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan on the road in league play.
All Ferris State basketball contests can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.