BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Lake Erie battled back from a mid-game deficit before succumbing to late-game shooting woes in an eventual 77-65 loss at Ferris State (Mich. ) on Thursday night.
The Storm (5-2, 0-1 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) did not record a field goal over the final four minutes and 52 seconds of play as they fell to the Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0) in a game that marked the GLIAC opener for both teams. Thursday's game also marked the front end of a Western Michigan double for the Storm. Lake Erie will be at Grand Valley State on Saturday.
Ferris State shot a robust 54.2 percent (26-of-48) for the game. The Bulldogs committed only 15 turnovers against a Lake Erie defense that came into the game forcing 28.0 turnovers per contest.
The Green & White were led by freshman Alyssa Brumbaugh and junior Jackie Murray, who each scored 14 points. LEC has now lost two in a row after starting off the season with five straight victories.
Lake Erie opened the contest by making seven of its first eight from the field. That accuracy vaulted the Storm to a 16-10 lead at the outset. A spurt by the home five evened the score, 23-23, by the midpoint of the half.
Bolstered by strong rebounding and good defensive pressure, Ferris State went on an 11-2 run later in the half. Out-rebounding LEC, 15-10, and outscoring the Storm, 15-2, at the foul line, the Bulldogs went into halftime with a seven-point cushion (44-37).
Lake Erie somewhat mitigated FSU's big advantage at the line by going 5-of-7 on 3-pointers in the first. Overall, both teams shot lights-out in piling up a combined 81 points in the opening half. LEC went 15-of-26 (58 percent) from the floor, and the Bulldogs went 14-of-25 (56 percent).
Ferris State scored the first bucket of the second, but the Storm then went on an 8-o run to get within one point (46-45) by the 14-minute mark. That surge was punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers by Jackie Murray. The Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run of their own, and by the 10-minute mark Lake Erie found itself down, 58-49.
The Green & White gradually chipped away at that FSU lead, and when Alyssa Brumbaugh nailed a three at 4:52, the Storm had cut its deficit to two points (66-64). But missed opportunities and turnovers the rest of the way would make that three-ball the highlight of the second half for LEC. The Storm went 0-for-7 from the field and committed four turnovers over the final four minutes-and-52 seconds.
FSU's Sarah DeShone made a clutch three and went 4-of-4 at the free-throw line over the final two minutes. The final minutes saw the Bulldogs turn a two-point lead into a 12-point margin of victory.
For the game, Ferris State was led by Kara Hess, who scored 22 points on an 8-of-11 shooting night. DeShone stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, seven boards, six assists and five steals. The Bulldogs out-rebounded LEC, 33-24, and finished as a plus-six in turnovers. FSU went 23-of-27 at the free-throw line.
Lake Erie was shooting an even 50 percent for the game after Brumbaugh's trey inside the five-minute mark. But the late cold spell sent LEC's final shooting percentage down to a 43-percent (23-of-53) mark.
Brumbaugh and Murray each scored their 14 points on the strength of four treys. As a team Lake Erie went 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. Chrissy Delaney added 10 points. Kaeding Skelton added eight points and eight rebounds.
Lake Erie only scored seven points off 15 Ferris State turnovers. The Storm went into the game averaging more than 30 points per game off opponent miscues.
GAME NOTES: LEC is now 0-3 all-time against FSU. … The Storm is 0-7 in its last seven December games. Lake Erie's last December win was at Northwood (Mich.) on Dec. 17, 2011. … Jackie Murray has made multiple 3-pointers in 6-of-7 games this season. … Lake Erie had ranked eighth in the nation in turnover margin prior to Thursday's minus-six mark against the Bulldogs. I their previous six games, the Storm had averaged a plus-8.0 mark.