Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's basketball team overcame a 16-point second half deficit and made several key plays down the stretch in notching its fourth consecutive victory with a 59-56 win over archrival Grand Valley State on Thursday (Feb. 27) evening inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The visiting Lakers led most of the opening half en route to a 36-22 halftime edge over the Bulldogs and scored the initial two points of the second frame to push the margin to 38-22 before FSU rallied. After GVSU had taken a 40-27 lead with 17:35 to play, Ferris State went on a 13-0 run to tie the game up with 11:31 left in the contest.
From there, the Bulldogs surged ahead and eventually grabbed an 11-point lead at 56-45 with just under four minutes remaining. However, Grand Valley State trimmed the margin back to a single basket on a three-pointer from Kat LaPrairie with a minute to play to make it a one-possession game.
In the final minute, both teams traded missed shots before the Bulldogs finally rebounded the Laker miss with 15 seconds to go and sophomore forward Christina Branch hit one of two free throws to give FSU a three-point lead. The Lakers got off one final three-point try from the corner by LaPrairie in the closing seconds and also came up with the offensive rebound on the errant miss, but time expired as the Bulldogs preserved the victory.
The win avenged an earlier 67-50 triumph by the Lakers in the first-series matchup on Feb. 3 in Allendale and came in GVSU's regular-season finale.
Ferris State limited GVSU to only 24% shooting in the second half while connecting on 51.9% of its own shots in improving to 10-13 overall and 10-11 in league action. Grand Valley State fell to 14-12 overall and 12-10 in the GLIAC with the setback.
Overall, the Bulldogs hit 44.2% of their field goal chances and were two-of-seven (28.6%) from three-point range along with 11-of-15 (73.3%) at the line. The Lakers finished 37.7% overall and made six-of-20 (30%) three's along with 10-of-13 (76.9%) free throws.
Ferris State received a game-high 16 points from sophomore guard Dena Droste, including 14 in the second half of play alone. She added six rebounds to aid the Bulldog cause.
The Bulldogs also received a near triple-double performance from senior standout Sarah DeShone, who finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 36 minutes of action. Branch chipped in 11 seven and seven boards while sophomore guard Katie Mavis added nine points and five rebounds off the bench.
LaPrairie hit five of GVSU's six three's on the night in finishing with 15 points for the Lakers. Senior forward Dani Crandall also tallied 15 points and had 11 rebounds in a double-double showing while Taylor Lutz added nine points.
Ferris State held a significant edge on the glass with 38 rebounds to only 29 for the Lakers. FSU also grabbed eight offensive boards to six for GVSU with both teams netting four second chance points.
Despite turning the ball over 14 times to only 11 for Grand Valley State, the Bulldogs did own a 13-9 margin in points off miscues and held a decisive 24-9 advantage in bench production behind the play of Branch and Mavis.
Overall, the Bulldogs posted 12 assists, three steals and three blocks compared to GVSU's 11 assists, six thefts and two swats in the game. The contest, which was the 84th all-time meeting between the two West Michigan rivals, featured four lead changes and was tied three times.
Ferris State will close out the season on Saturday (March 1) with a rescheduled game against Saginaw Valley State at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) as the two teams meet for the second time in a week on the heels of FSU's 83-75 road win last Saturday (Feb. 22) in University Center.
Saturday will also represent FSU's annual "Senior Day" game with the Bulldogs honoring a lone senior from both the women's and men's teams between games in DeShone and men's forward Raymoan McAfee. The game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame show at 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Tickets for Saturday's game are on sale now and can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. For more information, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.