PREVIEW: Ferris State Closes Season At Home Against Rival GVSU Thursday Night

FSU
FSU vs. Grand Valley State, Thursday, 6 pm
Video ($):  FerrisStateBulldogs.com
Radio (FREE):  Sunny 97.3 FM & Online
Stats:  Click Here
Social Media:  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 
Game Notes (PDF)
Team Video Center


This Week's Action:
The Ferris State University women's basketball squad plays its final game of the 2016-17 season on Thursday (Feb. 23) evening as the Bulldogs play host to archrival Grand Valley State inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (ET). Thursday's game will be Faculty Appreciation Night at Wink Arena.

Recent Results: The Bulldogs played a pair of close GLIAC North Division contests at home last week. After a slow start, FSU battled back against Northern Michigan on Thursday (Feb. 16) before falling 67-53 at Wink Arena. FSU then took Michigan Tech to the wire on Saturday (Feb. 18) in a 74-64 league setback at home. Ferris State cut MTU's double-digit lead down to five points in the final five minutes before the Huskies pulled out the triumph.

Media Coverage: Thursday'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 5-21 overall record to date this year and is 4-16 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 have included 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: Grand Valley State enters Thursday's game already having clinched a GLIAC Tournament berth under second-year head coach Mike Williams. The Lakers are 20-6 overall and 15-5 in the GLIAC this year and riding a four-game winning streak after a home win over Northern Michigan on Saturday. GVSU is 8-2 in its last 10 contests to date. Senior guard Jenae Langs is scoring a squad-best 10.2 points per game for the Lakers, who are 6-4 on the road this year after reaching the NCAA-II Elite Eight last season.

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. 

Leading The Way: Junior Rachel McInerney continues to lead the way for the Bulldogs this season as she ranks among the GLIAC leaders in several categories. McInerney is presently the league's second-leading rebounder (8.5 rpg.) and is also second in blocked shots (44), second in double-doubles (10), fifth in field goal percentage (.503) and sixth in scoring (15.6 ppg.).

Faculty Appreciation Night: Thursday night will be Faculty Appreciation Night at Ferris State and the Bulldogs will honor campus faculty members during halftime activities in the women's basketball game. 

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: GVSU holds a 61-28 advantage heading into Thursday's 90th encounter. The Lakers have claimed 19 of the last 29 series' matchups to date. Last year, the Lakers won both matchups by scores of 97-60 in Big Rapids and 80-46 in Allendale. Earlier this year, GVSU posted a 85-38 triumph over the Bulldogs in the first meeting on Jan. 31 inside the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. Overall, Grand Valley State has now captured the last five games with FSU's last victory coming by a 59-56 count in Big Rapids three years ago (2/27/14). FSU has won seven of the last 20 matchups overall heading into Thursday's clash.

Last Week's Leaders: Ferris State's Rachel McInerney had a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds against Michigan Tech last Saturday. FSU also received 12 points from both sophomore guard Alexis Bush and junior guard Leah Humes in the setback. Both Humes and McInerney scored a team-high 10 points in the loss to Northern Michigan on Thursday.

Senior Day Saturday: This past Saturday was Senior Day at Ferris State and the Bulldogs honored 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. 

Thursday Night Home Action: The Bulldogs wrap up a stretch in which they play at home on four consecutive Thursday nights in the month of February against GVSU. It also concludes a three-game homestand to finish up the regular-season for the Bulldogs. Overall, five of FSU's final seven outings in the 2016-17 season will have been at home.