GVSU women’s basketball drops first ‘Downtown Thursday’ game against Michigan Tech

GVL / Robbie Triano

GVL / Robbie Triano

Brady McAtamney

The Grand Valley State women’s basketball team fell to the No. 18-ranked Michigan Tech Huskies 85-81 in overtime on Thursday, Dec. 7, dropping the Lakers to 7-2 (2-1 GLIAC) while MTU improves to 9-1 (3-0 GLIAC). The game was played at DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids for the first of three “Downtown Thursday” events this season.

The women’s basketball game was the second of a doubleheader following the men’s basketball loss to Michigan Tech, but when the Lakers took the court for their shoot around, they soon realized that one necessary factor was missing—a working clock.

Once player introductions concluded, there was no shot or game clock above either backboard, resulting in a technical foul against the home-team Lakers even though the game wasn’t played on campus. MTU guard Lindsay Winter sank both technical free throws, giving the Huskies a 2-0 advantage before the tip-off even happened.

For GVSU head coach Mike Williams, those early freebies were a big deal.

“When you’re playing one of the best teams in the conference, you surely don’t want to be at a disadvantage to start the game, but that’s the way it was,” Williams said. “You’ve got to battle out of it, dig out of it. It’s two points. In a game like that, every—every—basket counts. … So yeah, it’s a tough deal.”

Despite being down at tip-off, the Lakers came out hot and took an early 20-14 lead heading into the second quarter before the Huskies rallied to a 21-14 period before the half, carrying a 1-point lead into the break. It was nearly a 4-point advantage as MTU banked in a half-court heave at the buzzer, but it was erased due to a clock malfunction.

The second half could hardly have been closer: Each team tallied 23 in the third before the Lakers earned a 17-16 edge in the fourth quarter before senior center Korynn Hincka’s last-second shot swiveled out of the cylinder to send the game into OT where the Huskies prevailed.

“I thought our kids—they’re young, Tech’s a veteran team—they battled,” Williams said. “I thought we competed. I thought we didn’t give in. We had a bad stretch in the first half and one to start the second half. We got down, but the kids continued to battle out of it, and I thought they showed toughness. 

“Tech’s a really good team; if you let them get shots off, they make them. They had to shoot 57 percent for the game. They’re a good team.”

Down by as many as 9 points in the second half at a time, GVSU was galvanized by a multitude of one buckets that quickly carried them back into immediate contention. The Lakers found themselves at the line often, converting on 20 of 24 free-throw attempts with senior forward Taylor Parmley serving as the frequent flyer, hitting 11 of 12 from the charity stripe on her way to a team-high 21 points.

In addition to her offensive contributions, Parmley snatched up 11 rebounds—six of which came on the offensive end—to give the Lakers a third straight game with a double-double. Hincka added 19 points and seven rebounds with Jenn DeBoer, Natalie Koenig and Cassidy Boensch putting up double-digit scoring nights as well.

Overall, Williams was satisfied with his team’s performance against one of the top teams in the nation. 

“I thought our team played really well,” he said. “Hats off to Michigan Tech. They’re a really good team. They played really well tonight.”

As for his thoughts on the team’s tenure at the DeltaPlex Arena, though, the coach sang a different tune.

“No comment,” Williams said, predated by an uneasy chuckle.