PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (16-6, 10-5 GLIAC) senior guard Cate Cianchetti (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) hit a buzzer-beating jumper from the right elbow to give the Storm a 75-73 road victory over Grand Valley State University (9-14, 6-10 GLIAC) at the GVSU Fieldhouse in Allendale, Mich.
It appeared that Lake Erie would have a much easier path to victory as it led by 11 with 2:28 to play before a 12-1 Grand Valley run brought the Lakers back to even and set up the dramatic finish. However, Lake Erie did not command the entire way as GVSU led nearly the entire first half and held a nine-point advantage at the break before the Storm opened the second half on a 33-8 run.
For most of the game it was Cianchetti's high school teammate, senior forward Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) who carried the Storm with one of her best career all-around performances. Wagers had game-highs of 21 points, nine rebounds and six steals and added a team-high five assists in 30 minutes of action. Wagers was forced to the bench multiple times with foul trouble as was senior center Stephanie Rogers (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor). Rogers played just six minutes in the first half but scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half and added seven rebounds. Senior forward Jen Caiola (South Russell, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) contributed 15 points, including four three-pointers, and Cianchetti finished with 10 points.
Grand Valley St was ahead 7-6 with just under six minutes gone by when Rogers picked up her second foul and was forced to the bench for the rest of the half. The Lakers scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 15-6 briefly led by double digits at 19-9 with 9:19 to play in the half. Lake Erie responded with a 9-0 run, with Wagers scoring the final points of the run with four of her 11 free throw makes of the day. The Storm briefly led at 23-22 after five straight points by Caiola but GVSU scored 10 straight points, helped by Wagers being forced to the bench with her second foul, and the Lakers took a 39-30 advantage to the half.
With the starting five back on the floor, Lake Erie opened with the half's first five points and took the lead at 46-44 on a three-point play by Wagers at 14:30. The Green and White scored five more consecutive points to extend that run to 21-4 on a Rogers jumper at 12:34. Their lead reached double-figures for the first time at 10:01 on a Caiola three and would be extended to a game-high 16 points on three occasions, the final via a Rogers jumper with 5:56 to go. Lake Erie seemed to have things in control when a three-pointer by senior guard Britt Busson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) put it ahead 72-61 with 2:28 to play but GVSU scored 10 points of its next four possessions to make the score 72-71 with 20 seconds to play. The Lakers fouled Caiola who split the pair of free throws and GVSU's Briauna Taylor tied the game with a layup with six seconds to go. Lake Erie took a pair of timeouts to set up Cianchetti's game-winning 15-footer.
The Lakers outshot the Storm by a significant edge (54.3%-43.9%) but Lake Erie had just seven turnovers while forcing Grand Valley State to commit 18. This led to a 31-6 edge in points off turnovers for the Storm.
Lake Erie returns home Thursday as it continues cross-divisional GLIAC play with a matchup against Northern Michigan University at 6:00 p.m.
Lake Erie returns home Thursday as it continues cross-divisional GLIAC play with a matchup against Northern Michigan University at 6:00 p.m. The game will be part of Lake Erie's Taking Breast Cancer By Storm Weekend.