DETROIT, Mich. - The SVSU women's basketball team traveled to Detroit for the 2016-17 regular season finale at Wayne State University. In what was a close game throughout, the Cardinals got some cushion late and clinched an outright GLIAC North Division title after defeating the Warriors by a 77-70 score.
Emily Wendling answered an early WSU bucket to tie the game at 2-2 just over a minute into the contest. The home team Warriors would hold two different five-point leads, with the second coming at 12-7 with 4:18 showing on the clock. The Cardinals would respond to knot the score at 12-12, compliments of a Hannah Settingsgaard three-pointer and a good jumper from Wendling with 1:26 to play in the quarter. Wayne State added a bucket with 43 seconds to go, giving it the 14-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
A pair of Wendling free throws knotted the score at 14-14 before Wayne State scored five straight to take a 19-14 edge. SV responded, scoring seven straight points after trailing 24-18 to take a 25-24 lead at the 3:42 point in the quarter. The 7-0 run featured two baskets from Abby Duffy and a three-point play from Wendling. The score remained close and was at a 31-31 stalemate with 36 seconds left in the half. With 12 seconds showing, Katelyn Carriere went to the line and connected on a pair, giving the visitors a 33-31 halftime lead.
The Cardinals would maintain the lead until the 4:48 point in the third, when the Warriors hit on a pair of free throws to take a 39-38 lead. Consecutive Wendling layups got the lead back, however, and made the score 42-39 with 3:32 on the clock. WSU responded to a Halee Nieman layup with three straight free throws to knot the score at 46-46 with 1:20 left in the third. A Carriere three-point play would be answered by a Warrior triple to end the frame with the score tied at 49-49.
The fourth quarter saw the score stay close and feature several ties, with the final tie coming as the score stood at 59-59 with 4:54 to play in the contest. Wendling and Nieman would each go 2-for-2 on free throws, grabbing a lead for the visitors and making the score 63-59. With time running down and the Warriors needing to foul, the Cardinals remained steady from the foul line and built a double-digit lead at 77-67, their largest of the night, with eight seconds remaining. Saginaw Valley closed-out the victory despite a late triple from the Warriors, sealing the deal by a 77-70 count.
Inside the Boxscore
- Wendling went for a game-high 25 points and team-best 11 rebounds for the double-double. She added two blocks and an assist and moved into second place on the career scoring list, four points shy of setting the new all-time mark. The 25-point performance marks the 16th time she has scored at least 20 points in a game. She was named the Meijer "Player of the Game."
- Carriere reached the 20-point mark for the seventh time this season. She scored 20 points, hitting on 4-of-6 shots and going 12-of-15 from the free throw line. Carriere added two boards, two steals and an assist in the victory.
- Nieman added 13 points, five rebounds and three steals for SVSU.
- Settingsgaard was the fourth Cardinal to score in double-figures, notching 10 points, four boards and two assists.
- SVSU shot 41.8% (23-55) from the floor while the Warriros were 39.7% (23-58).
- WSU out-rebounded SVSU by a narrow 37-35 margin and held a 34-28 advantage in the paint.
- The Warriors had a decisive 36-6 edge in bench points.
- The Cardinals matched last season's program record 17th league victory after Thursday's win over Wayne State.
From Head Coach Jamie Pewinski
"Really proud of our ability to finish-off a great regular season with the victory tonight! I thought Wayne State played really well, but we were able to make some huge stops down the stretch and pull away with free throws! We are going to enjoy being the outright North Division Champs, as it was a lot of work to get it done. We will be back at it tomorrow as we continue to try to improve as a team."
Saginaw Valley, the No. 2 tourney seed, will host No. 7 Northern Michigan University in the 2017 GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday (Feb. 28) evening. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. in O'Neill Arena. The Cardinals swept the season series against the Wildcats, earning a 67-60 home victory on Jan. 12 before winning in Marquette by a 62-60 count on Feb. 9.
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