The Lady Cardinals kept it close against the No. 5 team in the GLIAC, but Lake Erie’s defensive pressure in the second half sealed the 44-36 win for the Storm.
SVSU went into the halftime break up 16-15, but the Lady Cardinals were not able to make a comeback after the Storm’s 16-2 run early in the second half.
“We played really good defense in the first 20 minutes and did a good job of handling their full court pressure,” said first-year head coach Jamie Pewinski. “I thought the game would come down to whichever team was able to establish their tempo, as we wanted to slow down and they wanted to play fast.”
The loss was the Lady Cardinals’ seventh in a row. They now have lost 11 of their last 12 and sit at 3-14 overall, 1-9 in the GLIAC. With the win, the Storm improves to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in the GLIAC.
The Lady Cardinals shot 30.2 percent from the field, committed 23 turnovers, and out-rebounded the Storm 44-35.
In past match-ups, the Lady Cardinals have been out-rebounded and out-shot by opponents. While the team continued its struggle with completing shots, Coach Pewinski was pleased with the team’s toughness on the boards today.
“(Rebounding and shooting percentages) are two of the main reasons we have been losing games,” said Pewinski. “It was a good sign that we did fix the rebounding issue a little bit today, and we’ll continue to work on our offense to be able to score more than we are.”
In the matchup, Lake Erie scored the first two points of the game before the two teams defensively battled back and forth for the remainder of the half.
With 8:00 left in the half, sophomore guard Kristen Greene made a jump shot that started the Lady Cardinals’ eight point run.
Greene ended the night with 10 points and three assists.
The Lady Cardinals went into halftime leading the Storm 16-15.
After the break, the Storm turned up the defensive pressure which forced SVSU turnovers and allowed Lake Erie to go on a 16-2 run. This put Lake Erie ahead 31-18.
“In the second half, they switched up their defenses and trapped in the half court a lot more,” Pewinski said. “That is where the majority of our turnovers came and that was why Lake Erie was able to get the big lead.”
After a SVSU timeout, the Lady Cardinals were able to slowly fight back within four points, 32-28, with 10:45 left in the game.
Junior center Grace Herzog started this comeback when she made back-to-back layups and grabbed key defensive rebounds.
Herzog ended the night with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The Storm fought back and scored 12 unanswered points, making the score 44-28 before Greene knocked down a jump shot to start another SVSU scoring run.
In the last 1:18, the Lady Cardinals scored eight unanswered points, but this was only enough to bring SVSU within eight points of the Storm with the final score of 44-36.
The Lady Cardinals will be back in action Thursday, Jan. 26, when they host Tiffin University. Tipoff is 6 p.m.
Pewinski and the Lady Cardinals will have to come out strong in Thursday’s matchup as Tiffin is the second place team in the GLIAC South division, and the Dragons have preseason player of the year, senior guard Mandy Jaeb.
“Our goals for the week will remain the same as every other week, and that is to get better every day in practice and continue to compete in games,” Pewinski said.