This Week's Action: The Ferris State University women's basketball squad returns home to Jim Wink Arena to play its final three games of the 2016-17 campaign starting this week. FSU hosts Northern Michigan on Thursday (Feb. 16) night before entertaining Michigan Tech on Saturday (Feb. 18) afternoon in Big Rapids.
Recent Results: The Bulldogs played a pair of tight GLIAC North Division contests last week. FSU dropped a hard-fought 58-54 home decision to Lake Superior State on Thursday (Feb. 9) night at Wink Arena before falling to Northwood 75-70 in its final road game of the year on Saturday (Feb. 11) in Midland.
Media Coverage: All of this week's action will be carried live on flagship station Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. For a full listing of links for this weekend, including live internet stats and video coverage, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Current Record: Ferris State currently holds a 5-19 overall record to date this year and is 4-14 in GLIAC action to date this campaign. The Bulldogs won two of their first three conference encounters, which included an exciting 62-58 victory at home over Findlay on Dec. 4 when FSU rallied from an 18-point deficit to notch the triumph. The Bulldogs' wins this year include a sweep over Wayne State in GLIAC North action.
A New Era: A Michigan native and former NCAA Division I head coach returned to her home state to guide the Ferris State women's basketball program as Kendra (Harris) Faustin became the Bulldogs' new head coach prior to last season, replacing former head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate after three years at the helm. Faustin, who competed collegiately in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) at Lake Superior State and later served as an assistant coach within the league at Hillsdale, brings considerable NCAA Division I head coaching experience to the position after having served the previous eight years as the head coach at Niagara in Lewiston, N.Y. She became the seventh head coach in the 41-year history of Bulldog women's basketball.
The FSU Lineup: Second-year head coach Kendra Faustin, who formerly was the head coach at NCAA Division I Niagara University, welcomed back six squad members from a year ago for her first campaign, but the Bulldogs battled injuries last season. The squad posted a 5-23 overall record, but featured a youthful team with nine new faces in the program. FSU lost only a single senior from last year in guard Katie Mavis, who was a four-year letterwinner in the FSU lineup, but missed some time last year due to injury.
Scouting The Opposition: Northern Michigan, which is guided by head coach Troy Mattson, holds a 16-9 overall mark this season and is 11-7 in GLIAC play. The Wildcats have won six of their last 10 contests to date. Senior guard Bre Gaspervich is averaging a squad-best 12.4 points per game this year. Ten of the squad's 16 wins have come at home.
Michigan Tech visits Grand Valley State on Thursday before facing FSU. Head coach Kim Cameron's team is 17-6 overall and tied for second in the GLIAC North at 13-5 in league play. The Huskies are paced in scoring by senior guard Morgan Anderson at 15.9 points per game.
Big Second Half: The Bulldogs received a team-high 19 points from redshirt freshman guard Riley Blair in last Saturday's setback at Northwood and she tallied 17 points in the second half as FSU nearly came back to win the game. Ferris State also got 17 points from junior center Rachel McInerney along with 16 by junior guard Leah Humes.
Preseason All-GLIAC: Bulldog junior center Rachel McInerney (Saginaw/Nouvel) was chosen to the GLIAC Preseason North Division First Team. Last year, McInerney garnered All-GLIAC Second Team laurels for the Bulldogs as she produced 20 points or more in five games. She started all 28 outings last season and averaged a team-leading 15 points along with seven rebounds per game. She grabbed 10 boards or more in seven outings and shot 50% from the floor along with 73% at the free throw line.
The Book On Faustin: During her eight seasons as Niagara's head coach, Kendra Faustin recruited and coached 10 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) players, one MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, two MAAC Rookie of the Years, four All-MAAC Rookie Team players and more than 40 MAAC All-Academic Team student-athletes. Three former players also went on to compete in professional basketball and the program compiled a perfect score in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) under her direction.
The 2010 MAAC Coach of the Year, Faustin directed the resurgence of the Niagara women's basketball program in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as the Purple Eagles earned back-to-back 9-9 marks in the MAAC as well as two postseason victories in each conference tournament. The squad's 15 victories in 2012-13 were the most for the program in nearly a decade and the team's semifinal league tournament finish marked the first time in program history that Niagara made consecutive MAAC Tournament semifinal appearances.
In her tenure at Niagara, Faustin led the squad to three MAAC Tournament Final Four showings in a four-year span and the squad's cumulative GPA was 3.0 or higher in each of her eight seasons at the helm. She also helped facilitate the most financial giving in program history in 2013 and led all aspects of the NCAA Division I women's basketball program. In 2011-12, her squad ranked as the fifth-most improved team at the NCAA-I level on the floor.
The Assistant Coach: Ferris State University women's basketball head coach Kendra Faustin announced the appointment of Michigan native Sharonda Hurd as the program's assistant coach prior to last year. A former Central Michigan University women's basketball standout, Hurd had spent the past five seasons as the assistant coach at Olivet College, where she also served as the Comets' senior women's administrator for four years. In 2013-14, Hurd helped guide the Comets to a school all-time best 22-4 overall record under head coach Nicole Burford as Olivet placed second in the MIAA standings and was ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll for the first time in school history. While at CMU, Hurd was a four-year letterwinner on the basketball team and served as co-captain during her senior season. As a collegian, Hurd led the Chippewas in rebounding three years and was honored as the Dee Pommerank Award recipient for Most Improved Player. She was CMU's second-leading scorer as a senior.
Series History: Michigan Tech holds a 49-26 series edge over FSU heading into Saturday's 76th encounter and has won 25 of the last 35 series' matchups to date. Ferris State has captured a win in three of the last 11 meetings, but dropped two games to MTU last season along with the first meeting this year. FSU previously beat a national top-10 ranked MTU team at home in Big Rapids during both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons ..... NMU holds a 47-28 series advantage over Ferris State, but the Bulldogs have won 16 of the last 32 games between the two teams overall. FSU had won six meetings in a row, but NMU has since captured the last six contests, including wins of 79-64 last year in Big Rapids and 59-49 in Marquette before this year's first game in the Upper Peninsula.
Senior Day Saturday: Saturday is Senior Day at Ferris State and the Bulldogs will honor their lone senior, forward Joslyn Nicholson, as part of the day's activities. The Cary, Illinois, product is a two-year letterwinner in the Bulldog program after beginning her career on the junior college level. It will also be "Kids Day" with a number of events planned in conjunction with the league twinbill. Former Ferris State football standouts and current NFL players Jason Vander Laan (New York Jets) & Jake Lampman (Saints) will be on hand to sign autographs between games.
Thursday Night Home Action: The Bulldogs are midst a stretch in which they play at home on four consecutive Thursday nights in the month of February. Along with the Northern Michigan game this week, FSU will play its regular-season finale against rival GVSU next Thursday night (Feb. 23).