PAINESVILLE, OHIO - Sophomore guard Jen Caiola (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to seal the Lake Erie College women's basketball team's third straight victory with a 67-64 win over host Fairmont State University on Sunday (Jan. 3) at the Fairmont State Alumni Classic.
The Storm (11-8) trailed for most of the second half before taking the lead with 21 seconds to go on a short jumper by senior guard Renese Ames (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford). After Fairmont State's Ashley Vavrek split a pair of free throws and sophomore Stephanie Rogers (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) corralled the rebound, Caiola closed out the win from the line.
Rogers led Lake Erie with her fourth double-double of the season. She scored 20 points, going seven-of-10 from the field, and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. She was also a perfect six-of-six from the foul line, as the Storm once again took advantage of the free toss by converting 20-of-25 (80%) as a team.
The Falcons (6-3) built a 12-point lead late in the first half, but the Storm cut the deficit to just six points at the break, 35-29, on a three-pointer at the horn from freshman guard Sarah Wojciechowski (Randolph, Ohio/Waterloo). Lake Erie got within two early in the second half, but Fairmont State quickly pushed the advantage back to eight on a three-pointer by Lauren Streicher.
Streicher hit four three's in the game and the Falcons were 10-of-26 overall from three-point range.
The lead was seven at 60-53 with 5:25 to go when the Storm began to chip away. A free throw by sophomore forward Allison Pavkov (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) capped a 8-0 run that put LEC up briefly at 61-60.
Britt Busson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) fouled Streicher on a three-point attempt and she responded by hitting all three free throws to put the Falcons back on top with 1:37 to go. Ames tied it on the Storm's next possession with two foul shots of her own and after each team failed to convert on the next three possessions, put Lake Erie in front with her jumper in the lane.
Junior forward Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) blocked the potential tying three-pointer by Streicher at the buzzer.
Ames finished with 16 points while Wagers added 11. Rogers, who surpassed the 500-point and 300-rebound mark for her career in the game, had four steals and blocked four shots on defense.
After shooting a season-low 23 percent in a win over Concord University on Saturday, the Storm improved to 44.7% (21-of-47) against the Falcons.
Vavrek led all scorers with a game-high 23 points for Fairmont State. Kaitlin Snider added 18 points and Streicher had 12 in a losing effort.
The Storm, which won its fourth classic title of the season, will look to match its season-long four-game winning streak next Saturday, Jan. 9, when it travels to Central State University.