A rough start and an impressive showing from the reigning Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year spelled doom for the Ferris State University women's basketball team as the Bulldogs suffered a 76-61 setback to nationally seventh-ranked Hillsdale Saturday (Dec. 13) afternoon at Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Bulldogs fell behind by as many as 22 points in the opening half and trailed 42-25 at halftime before battling back to cut the lead to as few as six points twice in the final 6:42 of the contest. However, the Chargers outscored FSU 14-5 over the final 5:32 to seal the victory.
HC's Katie Cezat proved to be a thorn in the Bulldogs' side as she recorded a triple-double effort with 36 points, 20 rebounds and 13 blocked shots in the contest. Her 36 points were a season-high while her 13 blocked shots was not only a school and conference record, but also ranks as the third-most all-time in NCAA Division II history along with the seventh-most for a single game at any level besides being the highest figure recorded by any player in the country this decade.
Cezat's efforts helped the Chargers set a school record with 15 team blocks in the game, which helped limit FSU to only 34.3% (23-67) shooting for the afternoon. The Bulldogs shot only 28.6% in the opening half and also turned the ball over 22 times against the Chargers.Hillsdale's Katie Cezat, shown here with FSU's Ashley Fleming, recorded a triple-double effort in Saturday's contest (Photo Courtesy Zeke Jennings/Big Rapids Pioneer)
Meanwhile, Hillsdale connected on 49.2% (31-63) of its shots for the game, including a 12-of-18 effort from Cezat, who also sank 12-of-14 free throws. As a team, the Chargers were 12-of-15 (80%) from the line compared to FSU's eight-of-12 (66.7%) showing. Ferris made seven-of-16 (43.8%) three-pointers and hit five in the second half to help climb back into the contest. The Chargers were only two-of-11 (18.2%) behind the arc for the game.
Despite Cezat's 20 rebounds, the Bulldogs did own a 43-38 rebounding edge and came up with 16 offensive boards compared to only seven for the Chargers. Ferris tallied an 11-6 advantage in second chance points, but were outscored 30-22 in the paint and 23-16 off turnovers.
In addition to Cezat's monster game, the Chargers also received 16 points from Katie Eckinger and 10 points by Brooke Knight. Ferris was led by senior guard Teghan Thelen's (Pewamo/Westphalia) 12 points. Senior forward Caitlin Hutchison (Riverview) added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds, sophomore forward Amy Joostberns (Nashville/Lakewood) netted 11 points and sophomore forward Tiara Adams (Lansing/Waverly) posted 10 points as four Bulldog players reached double-digits.
Ferris also held a significant advantage in bench scoring as the Bulldogs received 21 points from their reserves compared to only two for the Chargers.
The game represented FSU's initial home contest of the 2008-09 campaign.
FSU dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the GLIAC with the loss while the Chargers remained unbeaten with an 8-0 overall record and a 3-0 conference slate this season.
The Bulldogs will next host Findlay tomorrow (Dec. 14) afternoon in a special Sunday league game at Wink Arena. The game is set for a 2 p.m. (EST) tipoff as the Bulldogs play at home for the second-straight day.