Women's Basketball Upsets #15 Gannon

Senior Tiara Adams helped the Bulldogs to a home upset over Gannon (Photo by Ben Amato)
Senior Tiara Adams helped the Bulldogs to a home upset over Gannon (Photo by Ben Amato)

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Tricia Principe & Coach Tracey Dorow

Big Rapids, Mich. - It has often been said a team often makes its biggest improvements from game one to game two.

That was certainly the case for the Ferris State University women's basketball squad on Sunday (Nov. 21) as the Bulldogs stunned preseason nationally 15th-ranked Gannon in a 80-71 victory at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

The victory came in the final contest of the two-day Bulldog Classic hosted by FSU.  Ferris previously had opened its season with a 10-point setback to Edinboro (Pa.) on Saturday (Nov. 20) in an outing that saw the Bulldogs commit 29 turnovers and give up 29 offensive rebounds.

Gannon, a former Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member, had been ranked 15th in the 2010-11 USA Today/ESPN Division II Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll after posting a 37-1 mark and reaching the NCAA-II Final Four last season.

"We came out with a lot more confidence and executed our game plan today," said FSU head coach Tracey Dorow.  "We shot a very high percentage because we kept attacking and weren't on our heels like we were yesterday.

"Our kids never stopped believing that they could step back up and get it done and that's a sign of a mature team," she added.

The Bulldogs shot a blistering 66.7% (32-58) from the floor in the first half against the Knights while building a 45-25 halftime advantage as Gannon made only 11-of-38 (28.9) field goal tries in the opening stanza. Junior guard Tricia Principe (Kalamazoo/Mattawan) fueled the Bulldogs' first half play with 13 points in the initial frame.

Gannon rallied in the second half, however, and battled back from a 21-point deficit with 17 minutes to play.  The Knights finally tied the game up with 8:07 remaining and took their first lead of the second half at 62-61 with 6:46 to go.

GU led 71-69 with 5:16 to play before the Bulldogs responded by scoring the game's final 11 points.  Principe's back to back baskets helped FSU regain the lead with 3:25 left and sophomore forward Katy Fox's (Royal Center, Ind./Pioneer) bucket with 2:50 remaining after a missed Gannon three-pointer pushed the lead to four.

Ferris then sank five free throws in the final 1:47 to pull off the upset victory.  The Knights missed all seven of their field goal tries in the final five minutes of the game and turned the ball over four times in the stretch.

Principe paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 25 points on nine-of-13 shooting.  She was five-of-eight from beyond the three-point arc and coverted both of her free throw tries in 36 minutes of action.

She was joined in double-digits by senior forward Tiara Adams (Lansing/Waverly), who tallied 11 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes of play.  Senior guard Becci Houdek (Canton) added nine points and eight assists while freshman guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown) contributed eight points and seven helpers.

Overall, the Bulldogs handed out 26 assists in the game, which finished five shy of matching the school's single-game record.

"We really drove and attacked the entire game," Principe said.  "Our mindset was better today and we all knew we were going to do anything to win this game."

FSU shot 55.2% (32-58) for the game and made eight-of-17 (47.1%) treys in addition to an eight-of-nine (88.9%) showing at the free throw line.  

Ferris limited Gannon to 42.9% (30-70) shooting and forced 18 turnovers.  GU was only six-of-23 (26.1%) from downtown and five-of-seven (71.4%) at the free throw stripe.

Gannon did grab 15 offensive boards, which helped lead to the Knights' 36-30 rebounding edge.  GU outscored FSU 38-32 in the paint and 20-18 off of 17 Bulldog turnovers.

However, the Bulldogs received a big lift from their bench as FSU's reserves outscored the Gannon bench by a 27-17 count.  Thirteen Bulldog players saw action and all contributed to the win by scoring in the game.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 1-1 overall this season with Gannon also dropping to 1-1 on the year.

"We stepped up and competed hard today," Dorow said.  "Everybody scored a bucket and when we called on somebody, they were ready."

Ferris State hits the road for two games this week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.  FSU first visits Lewis on Tuesday, Nov. 23, for a 6:30 p.m. (ET) non-league tilt in Romeoville, Ill.  The Bulldogs then face St. Joseph's (Ind.) on Wednesday (Nov. 24) evening with tipoff set for 6:30 p.m. (ET) in Rensselaer, Ind.

"This was a real confidence booster for us and know we have to take that same mentality and use it as we go into our next two games," added Principe.

Bulldog Bites: The contest was tied four times and featured 13 lead changes ..... Edinboro recorded a 73-63 win over Northwood in Sunday's first game of the Bulldog Classic ...... Ferris and Gannon both finished the weekend with 1-1 marks while Edinboro was 2-0 and Northwood went 0-2 ...... The victory increased FSU's series' advantage against the Knights to 13-4 overall and the Bulldogs now own a 7-0 mark versus Gannon at Wink Arena ..... Head coach Tracey Dorow improved to 11-3 overall in her head coaching career against Gannon ..... FSU totaled six steals and a blocked shot while GU managed nine thefts and five blocks in addition to 14 assists ..... The Bulldogs had only 10 fouls on the day.