Women’s tournament run comes to an end against GVSU

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After one of the best seasons in program history, the Saginaw Valley women’s basketball team’s run to the NCAA championship has come to an end.

The Lady Cardinals lost 63-56 to rival Grand Valley in a regional semifinal game of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 12.

The Lady Cardinals kept it close against the Lakers but ultimately lost the semifinal matchup.

The team shot an ineffective 24-of-72 from the field, including 6-of-23 from the three-point line.

Leading the team with 13 points was Katelyn Carriere. The junior guard shot 6-of-17 from the field.

Emily Wendling made her presence felt in the game, posting a double-double, contributing 10 points to go along with her 13 rebounds.

The Lady Cardinals got their first lead of the game in the third quarter. That would be the only lead they would hold in the entire game.

The team was not as explosive offensively as it was in the first round of the tournament, nor were the players as dominant on defense.

The team allowed the Lakers to shoot 25-of-57 from the field.

The Lakers clinched the victory by sinking four free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game.

The Cards started the tournament off strong with a 69-58 victory over the Bellarmine Knights on Friday, March 11.

Danielle Carriere led the charge off the bench for the Lady Cards, scoring 15 points. The senior guard shot an efficient 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Carriere also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.

Wendling led the starters in scoring, adding her own 15 points to the stat sheet.

The Cardinals were effective at the charity stripe in the second half of the game.

The team collectively scored 23 points of its 41 second half points from the free throw line.

The Lady Cardinals only missed three free throw attempts during the last two quarters of the game.

In addition to proficient free throw shooting, head coach Jamie Pewinski applauded the team on its defense during the game.

“Our defense was the key to the game today,” she said. “We applied great ball pressure and had some really good post defense.”

A key to the defensive game plan was to prevent Bellarmine from getting the ball to its star player.

Once that was done, Pewinski said the team came full-circle.

“Our defense then let us get out in transition and stay aggressive offensively,” Pewinski said. “Overall, it was just a great job staying with the game plan and playing together the entire 40 minutes.”

The victory guaranteed the regional semifinal matchup the next day against Grand Valley.

The Lady Cardinals finished the season with an overall record of 24-9, by far their best season in recent memory.

They capped off the season with their first regional win in 23 years.

SVSU was led by Wendling, who wound up winning GLIAC Player of the Year honors, and Halee Nieman, who was named Freshman of the Year.

Wendling and junior Katelyn Carriere also were named to the All-GLIAC First Team.