PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Lake Erie played its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division game on Thursday, and the Storm fell to the Malone Pioneers, 64-56.
The Pioneers outshot the Storm, 48 percent to 33 percent, in the key match-up at the Osborne Athletic Center. Senior guard Deborah Simmers paced Malone (10-5, 5-4 GLIAC) with 24 points.
Lake Erie (6-9, 1-8) battled back from an eight-point halftime deficit, and the game was tied late, but the Pioneers prevailed in a game that marked LEC's fifth straight loss at home.
With its win on Thursday, Malone has now won three in a row.
Malone drained four treys in opening an 18-9 lead over the first 10 minutes of play. Lake Erie struggled to create quality shots on offense, and that resulted in the Storm going just 4-for-its-first-17 from the floor.
Guard Sydnee Penn had a big first half for the Pioneers. Penn had 10 points and five rebounds in leading the effort for the visiting five.
Despite Penn's performance, Lake Erie wriggled the MU lead down to five (27-22) by the four-minute mark. LEC got its offense going late and wound up shooting 35.7 percent (10-fo-28) over the first 20 minutes of play. Malone shot 50 percent (11-of-22) in building a 36-28 lead by halftime.
The two sides traded baskets early in the second half, but when Sami Narducci knocked down a three from the left wing at 14:30, Malone led by just three(43-40).
The Pioneers would counterpunch. But then so did the Storm, and when sophomore forward Karleigh Weichler scored at the eight-minute mark, LEC trailed by just a single point (51-50).
Five minutes later the two sides were embroiled in a three-point basketball game, with Malone leading, 56-53. Both teams then traded baskets for the better part of the balance of the game, but when Selana Reale knocked down a pair of free throws at the 45-second mark, MU found itself up, 62-56.
The Pioneers went on to win the game by the same margin they held at halftime,
"We weren't very good in the latter minutes of each half," said Head Coach Bob Booher, whose Storm haven't won a GLIAC home game since Feb. 21, 2012. "We need to really focus to hang onto momentum when we get it."
Lake Erie will play another GLIAC South foe from the Canton, Ohio, area on Saturday when the Green & White host Walsh. Tip-off in the Storm-Cavaliers game is slated for 1 p.m.
Notes: Freshman guard Alyssa Brumbaugh made her first collegiate start in Thursday's game. Brumbaugh logged 33 minutes, going 4-for-16 from the field. … Malone is now 3-0 against Lake Erie over the last two seasons. LEC and MU are slated to meet in Canton on Feb. 6. … Malone came into Thursday's action leading the GLIAC in defense, allowing just 63.1 points per game. … LEC was a plus-5 in turnover margin. The Storm have been a plus in turnover margin in 5-of-their-last-6 games.
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