FSU women’s basketball edges Panthers, 78-74

Bulldogs withstand late surge against ODU

BIG RAPIDS — The Ferris State women’s basketball team fended off a late run by Ohio Dominican on Sunday to pick up a 78-74 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory in Jim Wink Arena.

The Bulldogs struck first with an old-fashioned three-point play by Christina Branch, but the Panthers answered with back-to-back treys to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point advantage at the 18-minute mark.

BENCH POINTS: FSU's Ally Christman (10) scored 21 points off the bench for the Bulldogs on Sunday, including six 3-pointers, as FSU beat Ohio Dominican, 78-74. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

BENCH POINTS: FSU’s Ally Christman (10) scored 21 points off the bench for the Bulldogs on Sunday, including six 3-pointers, as FSU beat Ohio Dominican, 78-74. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

The Bulldogs evened the odds at 14:39, tying the game at 10-10, and kept the offense coming on a 10-0 run sparked by a triple from sophomore guard Ally Christman to give the home team a 20-10 edge with 10:20 left in the opening half.

However, the Panthers wouldn’t go quietly to close out the half, turning the tables for a 12-0 run of their own to take a 22-20 advantage with under five minutes to play in the first frame.

Ohio Dominican pushed their lead to five, but back-to-back jumpers by senior forward Kara Hess and another trey by Christman gave the Bulldogs a 33-31 lead going into halftime.

The Bulldogs started the second half hot on a 3-pointer from junior guard Dena Droste, and FSU built on a 5-0 run to open the half as the home team found its footing.

“I thought it was the defense that started to dictate the momentum,” FSU coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate said. “We started to touch the ball more and stopped allowing skip passes and our zone started bugging them the way it should.”

Christman knocked down another trey and Branch got easy looks down low to push the Bulldog lead to 67-55 with 6:41 left in the contest after ODU had 10 turnovers to open the half.

Momentum started to shift around 5:10 when the Panthers switched to a full-court pressure defense that produced a pile of steals and sliced the lead down to six points with 3:09 left in the conference tilt.

“Yes (the pressure was getting to us). We were hesitating and people that aren’t usually hesitant were,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “This is a team that learns from hard knocks. We learned from a terrible loss to Lake Erie and then we came out and beat Ashland. Here we got a lead and then we hesitated.”

ODU kept chipping away, cutting the score to 76-74 with a minute to play, but Christman blocked a 3-point attempt with less than 10 seconds to play and FSU hit two late free throws to take the 78-74 GLIAC win.

Christman led the Bulldogs with 21 points off the bench with six 3-pointers and Branch added 17 points and five boards while Droste chipped in 13.

“(Branch) just opens up the perimeter for us,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I even told her to stop distributing the ball so much and just go one-on-one and she started doing that. Our offense really runs through her.

“(Christman) is really being a factor to our scoring and handling the ball and her size on defense against guards has helped,” she continued.

The Bulldogs (5-2, 3-1 GLIAC) get a long holiday break, playing again on Jan. 2 at Findlay.

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