Women control paint in rout of Rochester

GVL / Robert Mathews / Guard Briauna Taylor (31)

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews / Guard Briauna Taylor (31)

Bryce Derouin

The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team came away with a 79-45 victory against Rochester College Saturday, in a match that was GVSU-dominated from the start.

GVSU (4-4,1-2 GLIAC) opened the game with an 11-3 run and never trailed.

Rochester (7-8) was not able to get any momentum throughout the game, struggling to find good shots against a stingy GVSU defense as the Lakers forced Rochester’s starting frontcourt to shoot only 2-18 from the field. As a team, Rochester managed to only shoot 29 percent.

GVSU was able to exploit its size advantage over Rochester, outscoring the visitors 44-16 in the paint. Junior center Alex Stelfox, standing at 6-foot-2, led the Lakers with 21 points and 8 rebounds.

“We always want to try to get the ball into the paint,” Stelfox said. “In the past games, the post players have been able to finish their shots down low. We want the ball to go inside, and if we don’t have the shot, we can just kick it out to the guards.”

GVSU had its offense in sync throughout the entire game. The Lakers managed to tally 20 assists, shoot 43 percent from 3-point range and shoot 54 percent overall as team.

“We have some good low post presence kids,” said head coach Janel Burgess. “We need to continue to balance the inside and outside. We got the ball inside early, and we were able to kick it out to alleviate the pressure inside, and then work the ball back inside.”

Rochester never was able to get into any type of offensive rhythm while facing an intense GVSU defense. The Lakers employed man and zone defenses as well as full court press to keep Rochester off balance through the course of the game.

“Traditionally, throughout the season we like to switch up defenses and give different looks, and to keep the opposing team out of rhythm,” Burgess said.

The victory for the Lakers improves their home record to 3-0. This was the first home game for GVSU after their three-game road trip.

“Being home is enjoyable for us,” Burgess said. “When you are going through some tough losses on the road, it can be tough for a team. But we stayed together, and fought hard on the defensive end and shared the ball very well.”

The Lakers will host conference rivals Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech universities on back-to-back days starting Sunday.

“These games are really important,” said junior guard Lauren Stodola. “We don’t have any games to spare in the conference, and the U.P. schools are always really tough games. It should be fun and we will work hard to prepare for them.”

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