Storm Second Half Comeback Big At DI CSU Stopped Short
CLEVELAND, OHIO – For the third straight year, Lake Erie College (8-2) was competitive at NCAA Division I Cleveland State University (5-6) but the Storm fell short of the upset bid, 62-48, on Wednesday night (Dec. 28) at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.
The Storm (8-2) trailed by just three points with just under six minutes to play before a late Cleveland State (5-6) rally accounted for the final 14-point margin.
The Storm was led by senior center Stephanie Rogers (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds. It was the ninth time this season she reached double figure scoringand her fourth 20-point game. Also chipping in for Lake Erie was senior guard Jen Caiola (South Russell, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) with eight points, all of which came in the second half. Guard Cori Coleman and forward Destinee Blue had 14 points each for the Vikings.
While Cleveland State led the entire way, much of the first half was close. The Vikings pushed out to a 15-7 advantage at the 10:56 mark but a three-pointer from sophomore forward Chrissy Delaney (Delaware, Ohio/Lewis Center Olentangy), a pair of free throws by senior forward Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) and five points from Rogers brought the Storm to within two at 19-17 with 6:51 to play in the half. Cleveland State outscored Lake Erie 13-4 to close the half ahead 32-21 as 6-3 center Destinee Blue recorded eight points and 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The second half got off to a slow start as a lighting outage 34 seconds into the half delayed play nearly 20 minutes. When play resumed, Cleveland State extended its lead to 37-22 before Rogers and Caiola took the game over as the duo combined to score Lake Erie's next 16 points, closing the deficit to three at 41-38 with 10:43 to play. The margin was three points on four separate occasions, the last at 6:13 as a Rogers layup made the score 48-45. CSU proceeded on a 14-3 run to close out the game.
Shooting was the big difference in the contest as Cleveland State hit a 50.0% clip from the field (26-of-52) while Lake Erie hit 32.1% (18-of-56) including just three-of-16 (18.8%) from three-point range. In its last game 11 days ago, the Storm hit 13-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Forcing 26 CSU turnovers helped keep the Storm in the contest. Lake Erie picked up 13 steals in the game, including four by Wagers and three from Rogers. Rogers also had a game-high four blocked shots.
Lake Erie opens play in the New Year with their final non-conference game of the season next Tuesday (January 3) at Seton Hill University. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.