GVSU women’s hoops loses heartbreaker to Michigan Tech

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Kayla Dawson (23) moves in toward the basket.  The Lakers defeat the Chargers of Hillsdale College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 in Allendale.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Kayla Dawson (23) moves in toward the basket. The Lakers defeat the Chargers of Hillsdale College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 in Allendale.

Beau Troutman

With every victory carrying added importance as the season gets shorter and shorter, the Grand Valley State women’s basketball team took two out of three in a crucial three-game road trip.

The Lakers (17-6, 12-5 GLIAC) defeated Ferris State (4-19, 4-13 GLIAC) 97-60 on Feb. 1, took down Northern Michigan (10-13, 9-8 GLIAC) 70-49 on Feb. 4 and came up just short against Michigan Tech (15-6, 13-4 GLIAC, first in North Division) in a 57-55 game on Feb. 6.

“I think it was good to a point, that we battled on the road,” said GVSU coach Mike Williams. “You got Ferris and then Northern, I thought we played well in both of those games. Tech’s a good team, really good at home, and I thought we got close, but we didn’t finish it.”

The Lakers had little trouble with the Bulldogs in the first game of their road trip. The dynamic duo of Piper Tucker and Kayla Dawson led all scorers with 26 and 24 points, respectively, which almost equaled the Bulldogs team score. Tucker, a center, shot 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

Tucker’s stellar performance earlier in the week, however, wasn’t what stuck with her.

“It’s always nice to win, but riding the bus home 10 hours (from Michigan Tech) after losing the last one isn’t,” she said.

In total, five Lakers scored in double figures, and four players had four or more assists. GVSU shot 56.5 percent from the field as a team, including 51.7 percent from behind the arc. For the Bulldogs, Rachel McInerney led the team with 18 points.

A few days later, the Lakers again had little difficulty. A defensive effort that held NMU to six points in the second quarter and nine points in the fourth was key in the 21-point victory.

GVSU’s Taylor Parmley led all scorers with 23 points, and Dawson added 18 with three steals. The Wildcats’ Chloe Thompson led the team with 17 points, but was a part of an offensive effort that only mustered 18 total field goals on the night.

“Obviously it’s good to get some away wins under our belt, but it would’ve been nice to get a W at Michigan Tech as well,” Dawson said.”

The Lakers certainly would have liked to get the sweep in their last game of the road trip, especially against a team vying against the Lakers for the GLIAC North title.

Despite outscoring the Huskies 14-8 in the final period, the Lakers came up just short in a game decided in the final seconds.

Laker guard Janae Langs made a clutch reverse layup to tie the game at 55 with just eight seconds remaining. The Huskies took a timeout to draw up the play that would sink the Lakers.

After the inbound pass, time winded down until the Huskies’ Danielle Blake made the game-winning layup with just a tick left on the clock.

“We needed to get a stop, and we didn’t,” Williams said. “I thought we did a good job to battle back. I thought we had good patience, and saw the basket.”

Dawson led all scorers with 20 points, but the offense put up its worst shooting performance of the week with a 34 percent clip. The Lakers, who average 9.7 3-point buckets a game, only shot 12 (four makes) 3-pointers the entire game.

Next up, the Lakers will host Lake Superior State on Feb. 11 and then hit the road to face Northwood on Feb. 13.