GVSU upset in conference semifinal

GVSU womens basketball semi-finals. Cassidy Boensch goes up against Northern Michigan defenders. 

GVL / Ben Hunt

GVSU womens basketball semi-finals. Cassidy Boensch goes up against Northern Michigan defenders. GVL / Ben Hunt

Brady McAtamney

The top seeded hosts of the GLIAC women’s basketball tournament – the Grand Valley State Lakers – were upset by the No. 4 seed Northern Michigan Wildcats on Saturday, March 9 at Fieldhouse Arena 47-38. With the loss, the Lakers will not have an opportunity to play in the GLIAC tournament championship game despite winning their first  regular season title in 13 years.

The Wildcats were one of two teams to defeat the Lakers during the 2018-19 regular season and have now also held them to their three lowest point totals of the entire season – 50, 43 and 38. 

“That was a typical game, Grand Valley-Northern,” said GVSU head coach Mike Williams. “We can’t score on them. I don’t know why, we just haven’t been able to score on them in four years. Same thing, same tune. They have a toughness style on defense. They make you take challenge threes. They don’t let you get to the basket (and they) surround your post player.” 

GVSU seemed to be in total control early, as they led NMU 11-0 after the first quarter. However, the Wildcats would score at least 15 points in the remaining three quarters while holding the Lakers to totals of nine, 14 and four in the ensuing periods. 

“I thought when we came out in the first quarter, we had pop. We were all over the place,” Williams said. “I even made a comment to my assistant coaches, I said ‘oh my gosh, we are just flying around.’ As the game went on, that just dropped. Obviously you can see that we didn’t have the same pop, the same intensity, the same confidence and they just scored at will in the last three quarters. Maybe we’re tired, maybe we can’t bring that energy for four quarters, I don’t know. We’ve got to look at the film and see if we can make some adjustments.”

The newly-crowned GLIAC Player of the Year Cassidy Boensch led the game with 18 points to go with 10 rebounds, but the next highest scorer for the Lakers – guard Brooke McKinley – had only six points. As a whole, the team shot 16-50 from the field and 4-22 from three point range, including going 0-8 in the final 10 minutes. 

“Sometimes you make shots, sometimes you don’t,” Williams said. “You can’t put a loss on that. You have to get it done. I thought they did a good job. They did a good job taking away what we wanted to do, taking away our players getting to the basket, taking away our post game and making shots tough down there, getting us to create some turnovers with some of their turnovers and stuff like that. They just did a good job and they always do against us. It’s tough to score against them.”

While the loss stings for GVSU, they still have basketball left to play: they were ranked third in the Midwest region in the March 3 edition of the NCAA’s regional rankings and should not expect to drop out of the top eight. 

“It definitely sucks right now,” said guard Jenn DeBoer. “Moving forward, we need to let it fuel us for the NCAA tournament so we just need to keep moving forward and get better from this loss. 

“Just keep fighting.”