GVSU women’s basketball looks to close regular season strong despite senior Parmley’s ACL injury

GVL / Emily Frye 
Basketball vs Wayne State University at the DeltaPlex Arena on Thursday February 8, 2018.

GVL / Emily Frye Basketball vs Wayne State University at the DeltaPlex Arena on Thursday February 8, 2018.

Kellen Voss

The best time of the year is almost upon us.

As March draws closer with each passing day, the smell of playoff basketball madness is getting stronger and stronger. After a very entertaining overtime loss to the No. 1 ranked Ashland Eagles on Thursday, Feb. 15, the Grand Valley State women’s basketball team looks ready to recover and move on, finishing off the last few preparations before the GLIAC Tournament.

“The team has been doing great; they have been very resilient,” said GVSU head coach Mike Williams. “We matched Ashland’s will, and if a couple of things here or there go our way, we would have won that game.”

GVSU will have some big shoes to fill over the next few weeks, as senior forward Taylor Parmley tore her ACL in last week’s overtime thriller against Ashland.

“Sadly, this isn’t the first time an injury like this happened to us since we lost Cassidy Boensch to torn ACL last year,” Williams said. “It’s not fun, but we have to keep going and someone has to step up to fill her role.”

Parmley was a huge contributor for the Lakers this season, leading the team in scoring five games and in rebounding eight games. Besides that, she was an emotional leader for the team, and it’s going to be difficult for GVSU to fill the void. But at least Parmley’s spirits are still high as she continues to be a leader.

“She’s the same leader she was before she got hurt,” Williams said. “It shows her character, and I think the team is feeding off that. Team spirits are upbeat as we’ve had a little bit of a ‘Let’s do this for Parm’ mentality.”

Even though the Lakers face two opponents who lack winning records this week, they are not taking either team lightly, and the current atmosphere at practice reflects that.

“Practice has been really good lately,” Williams said. “I don’t think losing to Ashland affected us at all, which is a good thing.”

GVSU will now travel to Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday, Feb. 22, for a matchup with the Lakers of Lake Superior State. Although LSSU is merely 2-21 on the year, GVSU can’t let this be a trap game as they look toward the playoffs.

“Lake Superior State has been playing better as of late,” Williams said. “They have a good rotation, and it’s always hard to play at their place, so this week will be tough like any other.”

Despite only having one win in the conference, the LSSU Lakers do a few things well. They have two senior post players in Tamara Novic and Natalie Peterson, who have combined to average 18 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

After that, GVSU will also head to Big Rapids for the regular-season finale against the archrival Ferris State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are exactly .500 on the year and look to improve on that heading into the GLIAC Tournament. GVSU is preparing like they would any other game—by not letting their foot off the gas pedal.

“We prepare for every team the same way,” Williams said. “We try to game plan for every team the same way, and these two road games won’t be easy, but we have to (get) back to our winning ways.”

FSU does post some solid leadership at the backcourt. They start seniors Leah Humes and Rachel McInerney at the guard spots, and the duo is impressively averaging a combined 26.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.6 steals a game. GVSU is preparing to game plan around them.

Now, it is of course important for GVSU to focus on the games this week, but it is necessary to look toward the postseason, too. The Lakers don’t know their matchups in the playoffs yet, but two more wins this week could help improve their place in the standings.

However, Williams and the Lakers aren’t worried about that right now. They are taking this season one game at a time and plan to prepare for the tournament when it gets here.

“We haven’t really prepared ahead for the tournament yet,” Williams said. “I don’t even look at film until we’re done with the team we’re currently preparing for. It will be nice to play at home, but we’re preparing for Lake Superior State first.”

GVSU currently sits in third place and has clinched a berth in the GLIAC, as well as a quarterfinal home game in the tournament. They will play LSSU at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, and FSU at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, both on the road.

“We’re always ready, and we’ve always been determined in practice,” Williams said. “We are ready for each game we play, and we prepare for each game like it’s a very big game, so I think we’re ready.”

Looking toward the future, the Lakers don’t know who’ll they play in the first round yet, but they do know they will open the GLIAC Tournament at home on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale.