PAINESVILLE, Ohio- In a back and forth game, the Lake Erie College Storm women's basketball team fell to the number one ranked Ashland University Eagles 86-79 on Thursday (Jan. 19) night.
"The team stepped up to the challenge of facing the number one team in the country tonight," said Storm head coach Bob Booher.
Lake Erie opened the game with a 5-0 run, led by a three pointer by Kayla Gabor (Mentor, Ohio / Mentor). The Eagles answered with a 12-2 run going to the media timeout. Christine Dawson (Mentor, Ohio / Mentor) made a pair of free throws that cut the lead to 12-9. Ashland scored four straight points, pushing the lead to seven. Sophie Sonneman scored five points on a Lake Erie 9-4 run. With 1:05 left in the quarter, Sonneman cut the lead to two with a layup at 20-18. The Eagles led 22-18 after one quarter.
The teams exchanged baskets in the beginning of the second quarter. Following a Dawson jumper, Ashland scored five straight points for an eight point lead. Gabor and Sonneman combined for five straight points, as the Storm closed the gap to three. With the Storm down five, Daija Jones (Cleveland, Ohio / St. Joseph Academy) scored back-to-back layups. With 4:16 left in the half, the Storm trailed 36-35. Ashland led the game 41-37 at the half.
Gabor led the Storm with 11 points at the half with Sonneman adding nine points.
Ashland opened the half with a three pointer but the Storm rallied with a three point play from Gabor, all a part of a 5-0 Storm run. Later in the quarter, Gabor made a layup that pulled the Storm within two points. As the quarter went on, the Eagles kept their distance as they led by as much as eight. With 2:35 left in the quarter, Sonneman converted a three point play. The Storm trailed 60-58 at that point and trailed 65-62 after three quarters.
The Eagles flew out to a ten point lead with a 9-2 run in the first two minutes. Over the next five minutes, Brianna Shagovac (Lorain, Ohio / Amherst Steele) made two key layups. Shagovac scored four points on a 9-2 run that cut the lead to three at 79-76. The Eagles finished the game with a 7-3 run over the last three minutes to win the game.
Gabor finished with a game-high 25 points and six rebounds. Sonneman added a career-high 18 points, including a perfect eight-for-eight from the floor. Dawson scored 11 points with five rebounds. Shagovac assisted on nine baskets, setting a new career-high.
"Sophie was under a lot of pressure to counter at height against Ashland. She was 8-for-8 from the field, including a career-high 18 points. She did a lot of position," said Booher after the game.
The Storm finished with a 46% shooting percentage, including 50% in both the second and third quarters.
Lake Erie will return to the court on Saturday (Jan. 21) at Findlay.