GVSU women’s hoops escapes with win over Northern Michigan in two-game split

GVL / Emily Frye 
Piper Tucker agaisnt Rochester College on Friday Nov. 18, 2016

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Piper Tucker agaisnt Rochester College on Friday Nov. 18, 2016

Josh Peick

With 10 seconds remaining against Northern Michigan, the Grand Valley State women’s basketball team was on the brink of losing both games in a two-game Upper Peninsula trip after losing 49-48 against Michigan Tech Thursday, Jan. 26. With the Lakers down one point, Northern Michigan simply needed to dribble the clock out and draw a foul.

The Wildcats inbounded the ball to point guard Bre Gaspervich, an All-GLIAC point guard last season. Instead of fouling, GVSU’s Piper Tucker stole the ball from Gaspervich and drew an intentional foul, giving the Lakers two free throws and the ball back. Tucker hit both free throws, then made another two on the next possession to put the game on ice.

“I went for the foul and (the ball) came into my hands,” Tucker said. “I got a lucky tip, but really it came down to my teammates behind me pushing me out to that girl and allowing me to get that steal.”

The Lakers beat Northern Michigan 56-53, finishing the game on a 6-0 run. With the split, GVSU (14-5, 9-4 GLIAC) sits a half-game behind Michigan Tech and a full game behind Saginaw Valley State for third place in the GLIAC North Division.

In the first game of the weekend, GVSU battled Michigan Tech for sole possession of second place in the GLIAC North. The Lakers and Huskies went back and forth all game, and it came down to the final seconds to decide a winner.

“It was that kind of knock-down, drag-them-out game where possessions were at a premium,” Williams said. “I thought we did a good job on both ends of the floor. We put ourselves in position to win.”

With less than 10 seconds to go, the Lakers were down a point when Tucker made a layup with six seconds left. Now down a point, the Huskies called a timeout to move the ball past half court.

The Huskies got the ball to the game’s leading scorer Morgan Anderson for the final possession. Anderson shot a fade-away from the baseline that found the twine with .7 seconds left on the clock. The jumper gave Anderson a game-high 22 points.

For GVSU, Bailey Cairnduff and Kayla Dawson each finished with 10 points.

“Both these games we had to grind it out,” Langs said. “We fought really hard against Tech and it just didn’t go our way. We were faced with that same situation at Northern, and we did fight and we never gave up.”

In the first three quarters against Northern Michigan, the GVSU offense was stagnant. Heading into the fourth, the Lakers trailed by 10 points, but that quickly changed.

“We realized the situation of the game,” Tucker said. “We didn’t want to go home with two losses in the UP. It’s always tough winning here.”

To start the quarter, GVSU scored seven straight points to cut the lead to three. Tucker hit a 3-pointer along with a jumper from Janae Langs and a layup from Cassidy Boensch.

“We went to a more spread out look,” Williams said. “It allowed us to get in the lane more and make some decisions, either score it or pitch it back for three. That opened things up, especially in that fourth quarter.”

Tucker scored 10 points in the quarter and filled the stat sheet throughout the game. She finished with 13 points, five steals and three blocks.

“(After the third quarter), I challenged (Tucker) and she stepped up,” Williams said. “She’s a competitor, she takes challenges and she’s not afraid to hear things she’s doing wrong. She stepped up and was huge.”

Langs and Taylor Parmley both scored game-highs with 14 points. Parmley also hauled in a team-high five rebounds.

“It showed some resiliency to bounce back,” Williams said. “They didn’t let the loss to Tech deflate them. They were really locked in for this game.”

After the long trip to the Upper Peninsula, the Lakers have a quick turnaround with three games next week. Avoiding two losses on the trip was a momentum boost for the team.

“A split is a win for us,” Tucker said. “Both really close games, and it’s huge for our momentum with Monday (against Ferris State) and Wayne (State) and Saginaw (Valley State) later in the week.”

GVSU will host Ferris State Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.before hitting the road again for a two-game weekend series against Wayne State and Saginaw Valley State.