DEARBORN, Mich. – Defense and free-throw shooting were keys to the University of Michigan-Dearborn women's basketball team earning a critical Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference win over Rochester College in a battle of top teams in the league Saturday at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse.
The No. 23 Wolverines, shut down the Warriors (RV) in the second quarter, holding Rochester to just seven points. After the Warriors gained a brief advantage in the fourth, senior Natalie Spala took over for the Wolverines, scoring 10 in the final quarter to lead UM-Dearborn to a 59-53 win.
The win moves UM-Dearborn to 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the WHAC. The win total is a career-best for third-year coach Jordan Sweeney, as the Wolverines surpassed the program's win total from last year, reaching 10 wins for the first time since 2012-13.
Down 44-43 in the fourth, Laekyn Jaciuk took advantage of a personal foul and a technical foul from Rochester, hitting four free throws to put UM-Dearborn up 47-44.
The Warriors rallied to tie the game, but a circus shot from Spala and foul from Rochester for a 3-point play, put UM-Dearborn up for good. The Wolverines secured the game with strong free-throw shooting, going 12-of-13 as a team in the final 10 minutes.
Sade Lemons led the Wolverine offense with 19 points, while Spala finished with 15 points and five rebounds off the bench. Jaciuk added 10 points and three steals, while Cydney Williams pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds and added three blocks, including one of the thunderous variety in the game's closing minutes.
UM-Dearborn shot 17-of-60 from the field, 5-of-25 from deep and 20-of-24 from the line. The Wolverine defense forced 23 Warrior turnovers and totaled eight steals.
Brooke Fielder scored a team-high 15 points for the Warriors, adding seven rebounds.
UM-Dearborn will have a week off before traveling to Lourdes University at 1 pm next Saturday in Sylvania, Ohio.