Women’s basketball runs through Tiffin, Ohio Dominican

GVL / Jessica Hollenbeck

Lauren Stodola drives the baseline on Saturday

GVL / Jessica Hollenbeck Lauren Stodola drives the baseline on Saturday

Jay Bushen

The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team is getting hot heading into winter break.

The Lakers put together a dominant showing in their two home games last week with wins over Tiffin University and Ohio Dominican University, winning by a combined 48 points.

GVSU struggled offensively in the first half against Tiffin (3-4, 1-3 GLIAC), shooting just 24 percent from the floor despite a 15-3 run to start the game. The Lakers’ lead was cut to only five points at the break, up 21-16.

In the second half, the Lakers got it going on both ends of the court.

GVSU came out of the locker room with a 10-0 run and dominated defensively, keeping Tiffin off the board for more than four minutes.

“Our defense has come a long way. It’s tremendous,” said GVSU head coach Janel Burgess. “In order to be successful we’ll need to hang our hat on defense.”

The Lakers went on to win the game 59-38, using a balanced offensive attack. Senior Briauna Taylor led the Lakers with 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

It was a similar story against Ohio Dominican (3-4, 0-4).

The Lakers once again held a 21-16 lead at halftime, and exploded for another huge second half.

“In the second half we’ve been able to work the ball around better,” Burgess said. “We’re really trying to work on our offensive flow.”

GVSU poured in 44 second half points en route to a 65-38 win. Taylor almost recorded her fourth double-double of the season, scoring nine points and nine rebounds. Classmate Lauren Stodola led the Lakers with 11 points, adding three assists in the win.

The Lakers’ depth was the difference in the game, as 12 different Lakers scored at least a point.

“It’s all coming together,” Taylor said. “We’ve been able to take the success we’ve had in practice into games, and our bench has been able to step up and play some important minutes for us.”

Burgess said she was impressed with her team’s depth.

“It’s pretty neat to have your newcomers come in and be so productive,” Burgess said. “It challenges our team to improve in practice during the week. I think we’re going to keep finding out who we are as a team.”

Forward Kat LaPrairie has been able to provide an offensive spark off the bench this season with her ability to connect from long range. She’s made .533 percent of her three point attempts this season (8-15), third-best in the GLIAC.

“Kat brings energy,” Burgess said. “Her ability is tremendous, especially when she plays well on both ends of the court.”

After holding their opponent to only 38 points in consecutive games, the Lakers (7-1) moved to second place in the GLIAC standings with a 3-1 conference record. Their only loss came to the top ranked team in the country—Ashland (4-0, 10-0).

“Our goal is to be the best we can be on a daily basis,” Burgess said. “But we’ll need to be better next week.”

The Lakers will travel to Hillsdale (Saturday, 8 p.m.) and Findlay (Monday, 8 p.m.) before returning to Allendale for a five-game homestand, which begins on Dec. 29.

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