UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University hosted Grand Valley State on Saturday (2/4) afternoon, looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Lakers in Allendale. SVSU would do just that, building a lead as high as 18 points before holding-off a late Laker charge to claim a 68-65 win in O'Neill Arena.
With the victory, the Cards up their league record to 14-2, three games clear of Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech in the North Division with five regular season contests remaining. Saginaw Valley is now 18-4 overall as well, just two wins shy of posting back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 campaigns.
After Halee Nieman got the game's first bucket, the Lakers responded quick with a three-pointer for a 3-2 advantage. That would prove to be the visitors' only lead of the contest. SVSU's lead built out to nine points at 13-4 after a layup from Grace Whelan and a triple from Francesca Coury with 5:15 on the clock. It would grow to as much as 10 points twice, the second coming when Abby Duffy hit a layup to make the count 19-9 at the 2:22 marker. Two GVSU three-pointers cut the lead to four, but Nieman hit from beyond the arc with five ticks left in the opening quarter, sending SV into the second with a 22-15 edge.
SV's lead reached double-digits once again, as the team led by 11 (32-21) after Katelyn Carriere converted on a three-point play with 4:51 showing on the clock. It reached as much as 13 with 2:09 left to play in the half after Anna Hall made good on a layup attempt to put the score at 37-24. Grand Valley pulled the deficit back to 10 points with a layup with just over a minute remaining, however, putting the halftime score at 38-28 in Saginaw Valley's favor.
The third frame began with a 6-0 run to Carriere, upping Saginaw Valley's lead to 44-28. She made good on a four-point play and followed that up with another pair of free throws. Hall would follow immediately with a layup, giving the home team its largest lead of the evening at 18 points (46.28). After the Lakers pulled it back to a 10-point spread, the Cardinals got buckets from Whelan and Settingsgaard, along with a triple from Carriere to push the score back out to a 16-point edge at 57-41. GV hit a late jumper to make the count 57-43 in SVSU's favor heading into the fourth.
The Lakers brought it in the fourth, however, outscoring the Cardinals by a 22-11 margin to make it a ball game. A triple with 7:08 to play dropped the deficit to nine points at 61-52. They cut it to three points with 59 seconds left after a layup made the score 65-62. GV had to fould with seven seconds left, sending Emily Wendling to the line, where she connected on both ends to push the lead out to 67-62. The Lakers got a deep triple shortly after that, cutting the Cardinal lead to 67-65. They would foul again, sending Hannah Settingsgaard to the charity stripe. She connected on the first of the two, making the score 68-65 with just under two seconds to play. As GVSU inbounded the ball on a last-second attempt to tie the game, it was stolen away and Saginaw Valley survived with the 68-65 victory.
Inside the Boxscore
- Carriere registered a team-high 16 points, adding six rebounds, two steals, a block and assist in the victory.
- Hall added 13 points with seven boards and an assist. She earned Meijer "Player of the Game" plaudits.
- Nieman posted 10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, a pair of assists and a steal in a great all-around effort.
- Whelan chipped-in with 10 points of her own in her 19 minutes off the bench.
- The Cardinals shot 49.0% (25-51) from the floor in the victory and held the Lakers to a mark of 39.7% (25-63).
- SVSU out-rebounded GVSU by a 36-31 margin and the teams both had 19 points off the bench.
- The Lakers held a narrow 30-28 advantage in paint scoring.
- This is Saginaw Valley's second five game win streak of the season and it has won 10 of the past 11 contests.
- With the victory, SVSU seals a bid to the 2017 GLIAC Tournament. The Cardinals are currently the No. 2 overall seed.
From Head Coach Jamie Pewinski
The Cardinals take to the road on the long trip to the Upper Peninsula, as SVSU plays at Northern Michigan Thursday (2/9) in a 6:00 p.m. matchup before taking-on Michigan Tech on Saturday (2/11) in a 1:00 p.m. game. NMU lost a 55-53 decision at Northwood on Saturday afternoon.
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