By Eli Ong ([email protected])
It started with senior guard Victoria Hedemark going 1-2 from the free throw line, then point guard Jenn DeBoer found fellow senior Cassidy Boensch under the basket on an up-and-over pass for an easy layup. Then senior forward Maddie Dailey followed that up with a mid range jumper of her own.
If you are sensing a theme here, you would be correct. The no. 4 Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team hit a whole lot of net on Tuesday, Mar. 3 at home, and the Michigan Tech Huskies hit a whole lot of…nothing.
As a team, the Lakers shot a season-high 50 percent (10-20) from behind the arc and knocked down nine out of 10 attempts at the charity stripe. GVSU also held the advantage over Michigan Tech in rebounds (41-29), assists (12-5), points in the paint (26-16), and points off turnovers (17-7) as they romped to a 31 point victory.
“I think we did a great job of pushing the envelope on both offense and defense,” said GVSU Coach Mike Williams after the game. “The postseason is a new season and I think our players did a great job of coming out and responding with energy and belief in what we’re doing.”
The last time the Lakers faced the Huskies, Michigan Tech held their own and played to a 27-27 tie going into halftime.
This time, GVSU used a superior effort on both ends of the floor to gain a 19-5 edge at the end of the first quarter. The Lakers impressive start was propelled by Hedemark, Dailey, and Boensch, who scored 10 points on a perfect stat line in the first, shooting 3-3 from the field and 4-4 from the line in the quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same, but this time around the Lakers expanded the splash zone out to beyond the three point line, going 6-9 on triples in the second frame.
“(Michigan Tech) likes to help on the ball from the corners, when you get in the corners they don’t like to guard you, which is smart because not a lot of teams will take advantage of that,” Williams said. “I thought Jenn (DeBoer) did a good job, V (Hedemark) did a good job, and Jenai (LaPorte) did a good job of penetrating the middle and finding players in the corner and we hit some shots.”
Dailey, DeBoer, and sophomore guard Brooke McKinley each found the bottom of the net once from three, while Hedemark shot 3-4 from beyond the arc on the quarter. At halftime, Hedemark had outscored Michigan Tech all by herself, 14-12, as GVSU took a 41-12 advantage into halftime.
“I like to just find what we need for each game because it always changes,” Hedemark said when asked how she would best define her contributions of late to this team. “I always try to bring a consistent defensive energy and if I look for shoots, I’m going to shoot it.”
The Lakers coasted in the third quarter behind a 29-point lead to start the frame. The Huskies outscored GVSU 11-7 over the first 8 minutes of the period, but a pair of Boensch free throws and a layup by sophomore guard Samantha Gehrls drove the lead back up to 29 as the fourth quarter began.
The Lakers put their foot on the gas for the first two and a half minutes of the fourth as they used an 8-2 run fueled by a pair of three pointers from DeBoer and McKinley and a lay-up from Boensch to balloon their lead to a game high 35 points with 7:49 remaining in the final frame. Shortly thereafter, GVSU subbed out their starters and cruised to a 31 point victory, 65-34.
“It’s exciting, it’s something we’re definitely trying not to take for granted,” Boensch said. “We talked a lot about it yesterday and today and we just kind of wanted to live in the moment and enjoy the time we have here because, obviously, you know, this was likely our last game on our home court.”
Boensch added another double-double to her resume and led all scorers with 18 points on 5-6 shooting with 10 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Hedemark finished the game with 14 points on 3-4 shooting from three and Dailey poured in 12 points on 5-12 from the field.
Next, the Lakers will take on the Wayne State Warriors in a GLIAC tournament semifinal matchup on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 4:30 PM in Ashland, Ohio.