PAINESVILLE, OHIO -- The Lake Erie College women's basketball team is on the road for the second straight weekend to open the new year, traveling to the Hall of Fame city for a pair of games against the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) two newest members. The Storm (2-8, 0-7 GLIAC) will look to stop a seven-game losing streak Thursday night (Jan. 10) at Malone University and then play at Walsh University on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 12).
LIGHTNING QUICK RECAP: The Storm trailed by as many as 20 in the second half but came back to cut the deficit to as little as three in the closing minute before Northern Michigan University held on for a 68-63 win at home Saturday (Jan. 5). Ashar Harris scored a game-high 25 points to lead Lake Erie while Kaeding Skelton netted a career-best 17 points.
SERIES HISTORY: Lake Erie trails the all-time series against both of this week's opponent. Malone holds a 10-4 edge over the Storm, but Lake Erie has won the last two meetings, while Walsh is up 13-3 and has won seven in a row. The Storm and Pioneers last played on Dec. 12 2008 while LEC hasn't faced the Cavaliers since Nov. 30, 1995.
PIONEERS PREVIEW: Malone (7-5, 3-5) has won two of three games, including a 61-48 win on the road at Grand Valley State University on Saturday. The Pioneers have just one player scoring in double figures, Deborah Simmers at 10.8 ppg., but a balanced offense has five others averaging 6.9 points or better. Defensively, Malone allows the fewest points in the league, holding opponents to just 52.9 per game. The Pioneers have allowed 70 or more points just two times this season.
CAVALIERS PREVIEW: Walsh (4-7, 1-6) has lost three straight following a three-game win streak in mid-December, most recently a 77-59 setback at GLIAC North leader Ferris State University Saturday. Tracy Payne leads the Cavaliers in scoring at 13.6 ppg. while Maggie Berry averages 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. Berry led Walsh with 21 points at Ferris State.
HELTER SKELTON: Freshman post Kaeding Skelton had her best game offensively as a collegian in the loss at Northern Michigan, going seven-of-eight from the floor and three-of-five at the foul line for a career-high 17 points. It was her third game in double figures and eclipsed her previous best of 11 points set Dec. 17 against Lake Superior State.
FREE THROW WOES: In the first three games of the season, the Storm connected on 33-of-45 free throws, good for 73.3% and a 2-1 records. In the last seven games – all losses – Lake Erie is hitting just 55.3% (78-of-141) at the charity stripe. Only once during this current slide have the Storm been over 60% (13-of-18 at Michigan Tech). During the stretch, the Storm opponents are making good on nearly 75% at the line.
OPERATION SHUTDOWN: Despite a 2-8 overall record, the Storm defense has kept the team in nearly every game this season. Lake Erie ranks fifth in the GLIAC in scoring defense (57.1 ppg.), fifth in field-goal defense (39.7%) and second in forced turnovers (22.5/game) and steals (12.7).
POINTS AT A PREMIUM: The Storm's last few games have featured low-scoring affairs. During a six-game stretch since Dec. 1, Lake Erie is allowing just 55.3 points per game, with Northern Michigan (68) the only team to score at least 60. However, the Storm offense has not been able to keep pace, averaging just 47.6 points per game over that same stretch, going over 52 points just once.
THE FORECAST: After opening the new year on the road for their first four games, the Storm return home next week to host Hillsdale College(Jan. 17) and the University of Findlay (Jan. 19).