Pair of wins put GVSU in second place

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#12 Meryl Cripe

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #12 Meryl Cripe

Nick DeMaagd

Some players have more talent than others, so much so that they become the all-star of a team and the sole reason a team wins games. Grand Valley State’s women’s basketball program isn’t about individual stars though; the key to the program’s success has been a team effort.

In their eighth win in as many games at home this season against Lake Superior State, senior Meryl Cripe helped lead the Lakers to a 58-48 win. Cripe, who had 11 points and a pair of assists and steals, shot 3-of-4 on the night in just under 15 minutes. 

Sophomore Piper Tucker matched Cripe’s performance offensively, notching 11 points and a block in what proved to be a defensive battle.

“We really have been focusing on playing as a team and playing for each other,” Cripe said. “As long as we stay together, we can play together.”

The team did just that. A strong defensive performance helped GVSU overcome a rough night in the shooting department, as the team shot just 38.6 percent from the field. GVSU led from start to finish, and held an 18-4 edge in points off turnovers.

Coach Janel Burgess said defense and ball control have been two areas of emphasis in practice lately. The team turns the ball over just 10.4 times per game, fewer than any team in the GLIAC.

The Lakers’ high-octane offense came back to life in Saturday’s 86-73 win at Northwood.

Tucker had a repeat performance, racking up 15 points, an assist and a steal. Junior Brionna Barnett, who had nine points against LSSU, finished with 22 points, three assists and a steal as well.

“I think our strongest point is that we’re showing up and coming out of each half going out strong. The first five minutes are everything,” Tucker said. “We moved the ball around the floor and took the right shots, opening up shots for ourselves.”

Sophomores Kayla Dawson and Taylor Lutz added on to the already red hot Laker offense, netting 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The time and effort the Lakers have put in this season have been paying off. The team shot 48.4 percent from the field and 87 percent at the free-throw line, missing only three of 23 free throws.

The Lakers improve to 12-4 overall and 9-3 in GLIAC play.

GVSU will be back on the court at home on Thursday against Saginaw Valley State.