UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – An 18-4 run to close the first half propelled Ohio Dominican's women's basketball team to a 63-55 win at Saginaw Valley on Thursday in the GLIAC opener.
The Panthers improved to 5-1 and held SVSU to 27.5 percent shooting for the night. The Cardinals (3-3) entered the game shooting over 46 percent from the floor in its first five games.
ODU led by 10 points on four occasions in the fourth quarter, but SVSU rallied to trim the score to 54-49 with 2:21 left. Junior Madi Rittinger (Dayton, Ohio) answered with a layup, then blocked a shot and hit a jumper on the other end to quell SVSU's comeback hopes.
Senior forward Melissa Scherpenberg (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and junior Tori Beth Leader (West Portsmouth, Ohio) also scored 14 points, hitting five free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory.
Junior Lauren Bates (Hilliard, Ohio) scored 12 points and Rittinger finished with 10 points, five rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
The Panthers trailed 19-13 early in the second quarter, but clamped down defensively, holding SVSU to four points on just one made field goal in the final eight minutes. Rittinger's layup with 5:37 left gave ODU a 22-21 lead, and two layups by sophomore Megan Eyre (Fayetteville, Ohio) and a jumper by Bates put ODU in front 28-22. Eyre then knocked down a triple in the final minute for her seventh point of the quarter and a 31-23 lead at the break.
ODU extended its lead to nine, 37-28, on Leader's baseline jump shot with 7:49, but endured a 5:29 scoring drought. Saginaw Valley could only score six points itself during that stretch, cutting the score to 37-34, but buckets by Bates and Scherpenberg gave ODU a 41-36 lead going into the fourth.
Overall, the Panthers shot 41.0 percent from the field (25-of-61) and blocked eight shots after swatting 12 in their last game at Trevecca Nazarene.
Senior guard Rachael Torey (Sterling Heights, Mich.) set a career high with seven assists and tied a career high with six rebounds, and sophomore Sarah Futscher (Wilder, Ky.) pulled down four rebounds off the bench.
Ohio Dominican remains on the road to take on Hillsdale at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Contact: Scott Miles