GVSU split pair of weekend games, fall back in GLIAC standings

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck

Dani Crandall

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck Dani Crandall

Tate Baker

The weekend started out strong with a win from Grand Valley State University’s women’s basketball team, but they ended on a sour note with a loss to Wayne State.

On Thursday, in the latest installment of the battle of the valleys, GVSU (13-5, 9-5 GLIAC) dominated from start to finish en route to a 74-48 victory over Saginaw Valley State (5-8, 7-10 GLIAC).

“We knew we needed to bounce back,” said head coach Janel Burgess. “It was a great way for us to get refocused and protect our home court.”

It didn’t take long for the Lakers to get going offensively. Seven minutes into the game, nine of the ten Lakers that had played already had their names in the scorebook. By the end of the game the Lakers had three players in double figures, seniors Briauna Taylor 10 and Alex Stelfox 10, and sophomore Kat LaPrairie 14.

“It was a great team effort on our part,” Burgess said. “We’ve had a collective focus of understanding that everybody is extremely valuable. It really showed here tonight.”

Another key contributor to the Lakers blowout victory was their stellar defense. Saginaw Valley State shot a dismal 28 percent from the field on the night, while committing 20 turnovers due to GVSU’s ball-hawking defense.

“We did a great job of stopping penetration,” Burgess said. “It was great to see us clean things up on the defensive end.”

Due to the efficiency of the Lakers play Thursday night, the bench was able to be more involved, as they posted 40 points from the eight players that came in later in the game.

“It was great to have some of the girls get experience,” LaPrairie said. “It was an overall great team win.”

Thursday night’s win over Saginaw Valley State set up a huge matchup with first place Wayne State University. The Lakers went into Detroit looking to edge closer to first place in the GLIAC.

Unfortunately things were very different for GVSU on Saturday, as they got off to a slow start and trailed Wayne State (12-5, 10-3 GLIAC) at the half 32-20 and eventually dropped a 72-59 decision.

“We couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn in the first half,” Burgess said. “We lacked flow, couldn’t move the ball well. All things you cannot do when playing a team like Wayne State.”

The second half had signs of hope for GVSU, but ultimately the Warriors pulled away down the stretch.

“We kept chipping away in the second half,” said junior guard Dani Crandall, who tallied 14 points and eight rebounds. “Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough. We struggled to do the little things. Whenever you do that, its never going to be a great outcome.”

Taylor led the Lakers with 24 points, but unlike the previous game in which the Lakers put up 40 bench points, GVSU struggled to get production from outside their starting five, only recording nine bench points.
“That was really the outcome of the game right there,” Burgess said. “When you don’t play well in other areas, you need your bench there for support. Unfortunately, they didn’t produce tonight.”

Despite the set back against Wayne State, the Lakers are still only 2 games back in GLIAC play. However, the difficult road will continue for the Lakers as they face rival Ferris State University (10-7, 9-5 GLIAC) on Saturday.

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