COLUMBUS, Ohio – The warming trend in the weather passed over the Lake Erie Storm on Saturday, at least for the first half of an afternoon contest at Ohio Dominican. The Storm shot a cold 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from the over the first 20 minutes of an eventual 67-56 loss to the Panthers.
A mid-first-half stretch saw the Panthers (11-14, 8-13 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) take a commanding lead and had Lake Erie playing catch-up the rest of the way. But a late 10-0 run and a lackluster performance at the free-throw line likely has the Storm (10-17, 5-16) – a solid road team – wishing for a do-over.
A staunch Lake Erie defense forced 23 Panther turnovers, but the home five worked the glass to the tune of a 52-33 advantage on the boards. But it was LEC's cold shooting that loomed largest in the 11-point defeat and led to a season split between the two GLIAC South Division foes. The Storm downed ODU, 76-74, on Feb. 1.
The Green & White went just 4-of-20 (20 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. At one point in the game, LEC was 1-of-16 from distance. The Storm also shot a wanting 50 percent (12-of-24) from the free-throw line.
Freshman guard Brianna Shagovac was a bright spot for the LEC offense. The Lorain, Ohio, native scored a career-high 13 points.
Ohio Dominican took an early six-point lead, but when center Jodie Jindra knocked down a jumper at 13:53, the Storm found themselves down by just three (12-9). But Lake Erie's offense was then stopped cold for a stretch of six minutes. At 7:47 a Kayla Cook trey capped off a 13-2 run for the Panthers, who forced LEC into a 1-of-9 mark from the field over that stretch.
The Storm didn't score their 20th point of the half until the 19th minute, and they went into halftime down 12 (33-21). Lake Erie was outshot, 38 percent to 23 percent, in that opening stanza. The Green & White were also doubled up on the boards, 28-14.
The Panthers upped their lead to 20 (49-29) by the midpoint of the second half. Lake Erie would trail by 15 or more most of the balance of play. But the Green & White finished the contest on a 10-0 run.
The second half saw the Storm shoot an improved 44.8 percent (13-of-29), but LEC went 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) at the foul line. Brianna Shagovac had nine of her 13 points in the second.
The second half was also a bright spot for sophomore forward Karleigh Weichler, who scored the game's final five points en route to a career-best eight-point afternoon.
Melissa Scherpenberg paced the Panthers with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Notes: Freshman guard Daija Jones had four steals in the game. The Cleveland native and 2013 St. Joseph academy graduate scored key points at the tail end of Thursday's win at Tiffin and has averaged over 20 minutes per game over Lake Erie's last three contests. … Shagovac has scored 23 points over her last two games and 36 over her last four.
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