Storm Puts Scare into D-I Cleveland State Before Falling 74-63

CLEVELAND, OHIO -  Playing its second game against a Division I opponent, the Lake Erie College women's basketball team put a serious scare into Cleveland State University on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 23) at the Wosltein Center. But despite the spirited effort, the Storm came up short, 74-63.

Lake Erie (8-7) trailed by as many as 17 points in the game, but closed the deficit to just two at 52-50, midway through the second half. Sophomore Jen Caiola (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the second period, but the Vikings (5-5) proved to much down the stretch .

The Storm missed its first five shots in falling behind 11-0 until junior Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) broke the drought at the 16:19 mark. The Vikings, meanwhile, had the hot hand early, hitting nine of their first 15 shots to start the game.

Shalonda Winton, who came into the game averaging 7.2 points a game, scored 10 in the opening minutes as the Vikings built a 17-point lead at 30-13.

Lake Erie responded with a 10-1 run, fueled by back-to-back three-pointers by junior Brittany Zele (Geneva, Ohio/Geneva) and Caiola , to get within 31-23 on a jumper by senior Renese Ames (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford). Ames hit another basket later that got the Storm within seven at 34-27, but the Vikings scored the final five points of the half to take a 39-27 lead into intermission.

Sophomore Britt Busson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) opened the second half with a three but Cleveland State quickly pushed the lead to 15 at 47-32. The Storm responded with an 18-5 spurt, capped by a steal and lay-up from sophomore center Stephanie Rogers (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) that made it 52-50 with 10:12 remaining.

Honesty King answered with a three-pointer and Shanita Garland scored five straight to push the lead back to double digits at 60-50. A pair of Ames free throws near the eight-minute mark got the lead down to eight, but the closest Lake Erie got the rest of the way was seven at 66-59 with 5:04 to go. 

Kailey Klein, who finished with 16 points for the Vikings, scored six of Cleveland State's last eight points to seal the win.

Caiola hit seven-of-16 from the field, including four-of-nine from three-point range for her 20 points. She also grabbed a season-high seven rebounds to lead the Storm.  Ames finished with 14 points off the bench while Wagers chipped in with 10 points and six boards.

Garland finished with 18 to lead Cleveland State, which won its third straight. Winton and Klein each scored 16 for the Vikings, who shot 49 percent (28-of-57) overall.

Lake Erie shot 39% (23-of-59) from the field but forced the Vikings into 23 turnovers. The Storm also blocked five shots, including three by Rogers. The Storm will open the final week of 2009 on Monday night, Dec. 28, at Tiffin University. The

 contest between future GLIAC foes tips-off at 6 p.m.