PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Lake Erie exploded for 50 second-half points and hung on to a late lead, as the Storm defeated Ohio Dominican, 76-74, on Saturday.
Sophomore center Kaeding Skelton went 7-of-8 from the floor in notching an 18-point afternoon. Skelton was part of an LEC attack that scored 34 points in the paint. That work inside led to the Storm scoring 76 points, their most in a single game since Nov. 9. Lake Erie shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the field, marking its best shooting accuracy in a game since Nov. 21.
With the win the Storm (9-11, 4-10 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) are now 2-0 on a current three-game home stand. Prior to a Thursday win over Tiffin, LEC had been 1-6 at home this season.
Ohio Dominican (7-11, 4-10) has lost two straight.
In a low-scoring, see-saw first half, neither side was able to manage a two-possession lead the 4:49-mark when Jodie Jindra knocked down a jumper in the lane. A minute later Jackie Murray nailed a 3-pointer and Lake Erie found itself up by six (22-16).
ODU freshman forward Melissa Scherpenberg then keyed an 8-1 run for the Panthers. A last-minute two for Ohio Dominican was countered by another three from Murray (who was 2-of-7 from distance in the first half), and the two GLIAC South foes went into halftime with the Osborne Athletic Center scoreboard illuminating a 26-26 tie.
Murray had eight first-half points for Lake Erie. Scherpenberg had 11 points – and eight rebounds -- for Ohio Dominican. Shooting accuracy was a balanced issue in the first; LEC was a minus-10 on the boards and a plus-5 in turnovers. The Panthers turned the ball over 17 times in the first 20 minutes.
The early minutes of the second half were a further exchange of baskets, but Lake Erie put together a run around the midpoint of the period. A three-point play by Kaeding Skelton at 12:46 launched a 17-6 run for the Storm, who went 5-for-5 from the field during the stretch.
By the 6:26-mark, Ohio Dominican had managed to cut the LEC lead to four (64-60). For the bulk of the final minutes, and throughout a start-and-stop, foul-ridden pace of play, the Storm would lead by two scores. A Kacee Hockenberry trey with two seconds remaining cut Lake Erie's final margin of victory to two points.
In a game that included six ties and 13 lead changes, both teams shot over 40 percent from the floor (ODU shot 43.5 percent, 20-of-46). The two teams combined for 98 second-half points on the strength of a combined 50-percent mark from the floor.
The Panthers controlled the boards to the tune of a final 45-24 advantage on rebounds. The Storm controlled the ball to the tune of a final 30-17 exchange of turnovers (ODU committing 30).
Skelton's 18 points – a career-best – were accompanied in the box score by a block, two steals and six rebounds.
Jackie Murray hit four treys en route to scoring 16 points. Chloe Irish added 12 points and contributed a game-high four steals. Lake Erie had 16 steals in the game, the team's most in a contest since Dec. 14.
The game was rife with whistles – Lake Erie got to the free-throw line 39 times (making 24, 61.5 percent). ODU got to the line 44 times.
The Panthers were led by Hockenberry (21 points) and Melissa Scherpenberg (11 points, 12 rebounds).
The Storm will close out their three-game home stretch with a 6 p.m. game against Ashland on Monday.
Notes: With LEC's victories on Thursday and Saturday, the Storm have earned back-to-back GLIAC wins for the first time since the front half of the 2011-12 season. … Jackie Murray has now scored 13 points or more in five straight games. … Five LEC players (Alyssa Brumbaugh, Chrissy Delaney, Irish, Sami Narducci, Skelton) had multiple steals on Saturday. Coming into the week, Lake Erie's 10.9 steals per game ranked second in the GLIAC. … Saturday's shooting performance broke a streak of 12 straight games shooting under 40 percent. … Lake Erie's 39 free-throw attempts mark a season high. The team's minus-21 in rebounding margin marks a season low. … In forcing 30 turnovers against Ohio Dominican, the Storm have now forced 30 or more in a game four times this season.
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