Briauna Taylor’s 33 points not enough to save Lakers

Courtesy Photo /
Briauna Taylor out up 33 points during Saturdays game against Michigan Tech

Courtesy Photo / Briauna Taylor out up 33 points during Saturday’s game against Michigan Tech

Derek Wolff

The weather outside was frightful, and the atmosphere inside the Fieldhouse Arena was anything but cozy for Laker fans. Not even a Jordan-esque performance from sophomore forward Briauna Taylor could save Grand Valley State University from being pummeled by Michigan Technological University in a Saturday afternoon 84-64 home defeat.

Taylor amassed a career-high 33 points against the Huskies, shooting 12-22 on the game while draining 6-of-8 from behind the 3-point line.

“It would have been good if we had won, but it is good for my confidence going forward,” she said. “Whenever I get in a shooting slump I know that I can play above what I think I can.”

Taylor was one of only six Lakers who scored against the Huskies, as her twin sister Brittany Taylor, sophomore center Alex Stelfox, sophomore guiard Lauren Stodola, junior guard Jasmine Padin and freshman guard Tori Klewicki-McNutt combined for 31 points. The Lakers shot a dismal 37.3 percent in the game, converting on only 22-of-59 from the field.

The 84-point outburst by Michigan Tech was its highest scoring output of the season, as well as the most points GVSU has given up this season and the first time this year they had given up more than 80 points in a single game.

The Huskies were led by a two-headed monster in Lucy Dernovesek and Sam Hoyt. Dernovesek earned a double-double by shooting 6-9 from the field for 17 points and pulling down 12 of Michigan Tech’s 45 rebounds. Hoyt added 18 points by shooting 7-9 for the game while dishing out six assists.

The Lakers outscored the Huskies 39-33 in the second half as Michigan Tech’s golden touch from the first half sunk to 8-of-23 shots from the floor. The play in the second half, aside from Taylor’s masterful shooting performance, was one of the few positives GVSU head coach Janel Burgess took away from the loss.

“I liked our fight in the second half, our lack of quitting and our leadership out there from a lot of young sophomores,” Burgess said. “This will be a good gut-check for us.”

Michigan Tech doubled up GVSU in the first half, dominating the Lakers 51-25. The Dernovsek-Hoyt tandum alone outscored the Lakers as both Huskies scored 13 points.

Both sides took 28 shots in the first half, but the similarities ended there. Michigan Tech made 19-of-28 for a remarkable 67.9 percent from the field. The Lakers, however, ran ice cold, draining only 9-of-28 shots.

Taylor contributed 15 of the team’s 25 first half points.

“I was confident that every time I took a shot, I felt like I could make it,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of like you feel that you just can’t miss.”

The loss drops GVSU back to 7-4 in GLIAC play while Michigan Tech rebounds from their first conference loss earlier in the week to improve to 9-1 in conference play.

“(This loss) hurts, but it just kind of fuels the fire a little more and gives us that extra chip on our shoulder,” said senior guard Elizabeth Van Tiflin. “We have another game on Wednesday, and we’ll just take it one step at a time and come back ready to go.”

The Lakers, who defeated Northern Michigan University 70-45 on Thursday night in Allendale before falling Saturday to the Huskies, will take on Urbana University Wednesday night at 7 p.m. It will be their final home game before a three-week road game stretch.

Despite the non-conference nature of the game, Burgess didn’t downplay its significance.

“It’s another opportunity for us to get better, and we’ve clearly got room to grow,” she said.

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