MIDLAND, Mich. – Sophomore guard Shelby Carpenter scored a career-high 15 points as Lake Erie snapped a six-game losing streak by turning aside Northwood (Mich.), 61-59, in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action on Saturday.
The Storm (6-6, 1-5 GLIAC) played a near-flawless first half and then prevailed in a second-half defensive battle that saw numerous lead changes. The victory snapped a losing skid that began on Dec. 1, and it spelled LEC's first GLIAC win of the season. It also came against a solid Northwood (5-5, 3-3) team that had downed defending national champion Ashland just two days prior.
The host Timberwolves defeated Ashland, 65-49, on Thursday and came into Saturday's contest at the Bennett Center averaging 74.2 points per game. Lake Erie held the Timberwolves to 59 points, 26 in the game's tussle of a second half. Carpenter went 7-of-8 at the free-throw line in scoring her game-high 15 points. Alyssa Brumbaugh and Jodie Jindra each added 10 points in a game that saw no less than 26 ties and lead changes.
Carpenter paced LEC in a hot start, as the Storm went 6-of-8 from the field in opening an 18-17 lead over the first nine minutes of action. Carpenter was responsible for 10 of those first 18 points, and the Dayton, Ohio, native went on to score 14 points in the first half.
Alyssa Brumbaugh scored seven points in the first stanza, and the Storm went into halftime leading, 37-33, and shooting 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the floor. That shooting performance included a 4-of-8 mark from three-point land, and the halftime lead marked LEC's first since Dec. 1.
Aside from shooting lights-out in the first, Lake Erie was also solid on the boards, out-rebounding the Timberwolves, 20-12.
The Timberwolves scored the first seven points in the second, but the two sides then engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of baskets. The Storm managed to stay in a neck-and-neck battle despite connecting on just one of their first 14 attempts in the half. When Jodie Jindra converted on a lay-up at the 7:26-mark, it put Lake Erie up by one (47-46) and ended a seven-minute drought without a field goal. The Storm did get to the line, however – LEC would get to the line for 35 attempts (the Storm made 24, 68.6 percent) by the time the game was over.
The Saturday-afternoon see-saw affair remained a close game into the game's final minutes. An Alyssa Brumbaugh trey put the Storm up, 50-48, and Northwood countered. Jindra knocked down a pair of clutch free throws, and Northwood countered. And so on.
The first team to pull ahead by more than one score was Lake Erie, when back-to-back defensive stops were followed by a Jindra bucket at 5:00. The Jindra score put LEC up, 55-51. NU erased that lead by the 2:45-mark, but a Chrissy Delaney score at 2:23 put the Storm up, 57-55. Northwood answered on its next possession with a pair of Sarah Susan free throws.
The two teams then traded fine defensive stands and the game went into its final 80 seconds with the score knotted at 57-57. Shelby Carpenter got to the charity stripe at 1:17, and she knocked down 1-of-2 attempts. After a Northwood turnover and a Chloe Irish offensive rebound, Chrissy Delaney got to the line at the 33-second mark. She knocked down a pair to put LEC up by three.
A Lauren Robak brought the Timberwolves within one – at 60-59 – and NU then fouled Sami Narducci with eight seconds remaining. Narducci hit 1-of-2 and that rounded out the scoring with Northwood unable to answer.
Lake Erie went 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) at the free-throw line in the second; the Storm shot just 19.2 percent (5-of-26) from the field in the game's final 20 minutes. For the game, the Green & White out-rebounded Northwood, 40-28. Delaney was LEC's leading rebounder, with eight boards. The senior forward posted a jack-of-all-trades line in the stat sheet, logging eight points, eight boards, one assist, one block and one steal. She had half of her eight rebounds on the offensive glass, leading the Storm to 18 offensive rebounds for the game.
Delaney was the leading edge of a productive afternoon for the Storm bench. The LEC reserves outscored their NU counterparts, 31-19.
The victory came in the back half of a Michigan road double that marked the team's longest road trip of the season. LEC lost at Lake Superior State on Thursday. The Green & White will now return home for an extended stretch. Their next four games will all be in the friendly confines of the Osborne Athletic Center in Painesville, Ohio. The first of those four straight home games is slated for Thursday, when the Storm host Michigan Tech (6 p.m. tip-off).
Notes: Prior to Saturday's game, Lake Erie hadn't won a road game in the state of Michigan since Feb. 11, 2012, a stretch of eight games. … LEC's 35 free-throw attempts marked the team's most in a game since Dec. 1. … The Storm are 2-0 this season in games decided by one score. LEC is 4-4 on the road. … Lake Erie's plus-12 in rebounding margin marked the team's first plus Nov. 26. LEC is 5-0 when out-rebounding its opponent.