The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV women’s basketball earns No. 1 seed in GLIAC Tournament, wins 3rd straight regular season title

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

The Grand Valley State University Lakers women’s basketball team (29-2, 17-1) won against the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (19-8, 13-) and the Michigan Technological University Huskies (15-11, 11-7), an eleventh straight victory for the team as they head into the tournament season.

The Lakers first faced the Wildcats on Thursday, Feb. 29, taking the victory 74-67 in an overtime battle, before facing the Huskies on Saturday, March 2 for a narrow 92-86 win. 

With the win against the Wildcats, GVSU earned multiple accomplishments. The Lakers won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship for the third-consecutive season. In the process, Lakers head coach Mike Williams became the winningest coach in GVSU women’s basketball history with 234 wins. Redshirt junior forward Rylie Bisballe also tallied her 1,000th career point in the matchup with NMU.

Starting in the first quarter against the Wildcats, both teams came to play. GVSU scored the first basket of the game, with NMU following right behind, an early sign of a close matchup. At the end of the first the Wildcats had the advantage, leading GVSU 10-9. 

Going into the second quarter, NMU took the first basket. GVSU then put up six-straight points to take the lead before NMU tied the score at 15-15 half way through the second. The Lakers and Wildcats were fighting to break the tie, but the Lakers finished the first half on top at 29-27.

After halftime, both teams continued to battle for the lead, trading runs in the third quarter. GVSU ended up pushing to an eight-point lead, heading into the fourth with a score of 46-38.

In the fourth quarter NMU came back to try and take the lead, using strong defense and offense to tie the game. The Wildcats scored 20 points to the Lakers 12 points. NMU scored on a 3-pointer in the last four seconds of the game by senior guard Makaylee Kuhn to tie the score at 58-58 and push the game to overtime.

“We knew we needed to be a little tougher (going into overtime) and be relentless and do whatever we could to help each other get the win,” Bisballe said.

Half way through overtime the Lakers went on a six-point run, before icing the game in the last 18 seconds of OT with four made free throws. GVSU came out on top 64-57 in a hard-fought victory.

“The level of intensity was at another level and it always is against Northern Michigan,” Williams said. “We didn’t feel that we lost momentum going into overtime. We felt that we were in a pretty good spot.”

Following the win against the Wildcats, the Lakers took on the Michigan Tech Huskies two days later. 

The first quarter was a defensive slugfest. With GVSU holding an 8-5 lead at its conclusion, junior guard Abrie Cabana had scored four of the Lakers’ eight points.

The second quarter was a little bit higher scoring, yet still evenly matched. The Lakers went into the break up 22-17, clinging to their advantage in a low scoring game. 

Coming out of halftime both teams continued to battle, but GVSU began to take control. Starting off the third quarter, MTU had scored two quick baskets before the Lakers responded with a seven-point run. GVSU finished the third quarter up 43-30, nearly matching their first-half output with 21 points in one quarter.

The Huskies outscored the Lakers 16 to 14 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough for MTU to come out on top. GVSU maintained and won 57-46.

Following these two wins against two competitors in Michigan’s upper peninsula, the Lakers will host a matchup with Purdue University Northwest in the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. in the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.

Having won the regular season title, GVSU owns the highest seed in the GLIAC Tournament. If they continue to win they will host every game of the tournament that they play in. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, followed by the championship game on Sunday.

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