GVSU women’s basketball wins fifth straight

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Kayla Dawson (23) drives down the lane.  The Lakers down the Timberwolves of Northwood University in Allendale with a final score of 71-47 Jan. 24, 2016.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Kayla Dawson (23) drives down the lane. The Lakers down the Timberwolves of Northwood University in Allendale with a final score of 71-47 Jan. 24, 2016.

Beau Troutman

The Grand Valley State women’s basketball team played a home-and-away series over the weekend, traveling to face Lake Superior State on Jan. 21, and coming home for a matchup with Northwood on Jan. 23.

The Lakers had little difficulty, and much consistency, as they defeated Lake Superior State 71-49, and Northwood 71-47. The two victories extended the Laker winning streak to five.

“(Lake Superior State) was a little banged up, but I thought we went up there and played well on the road. It’s a tough place to play and we’ve struggled there in the past,” said GVSU coach Mike Williams.

“The nice thing was, I thought we showed a little toughness. We go to Lake State, get back at 4 in the morning, have to turn around go to class at 8 and practice at 10. You have an excuse built-in, and our players didn’t use that.”

The Lakers of GVSU had little trouble with the Lakers of LSSU, and led by as many as 26 points. GVSU shot 40.7 percent as a team, and 50 percent from behind the arc on 14-of-28 shooting.

GVSU’s Piper Tucker finished with 16 points, Bailey Cairnduff had 13 and Lindsay Baker added 12 on four triples.

The Lakers found more success two days later against the Timberwolves in a game where a balanced offensive approach was good for 50 percent from the field as a team.

“Our energy overall commanded this game,” said forward Kayla Dawson. “It was just, ‘get it done.’ We knew they had two big rebounders on their team, so the big thing for us was no offensive rebounds for them.”

The Lakers got off to a hot start, and led 20-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Things were going smoothly for the Lakers until about two minutes left in the first half. The gym fell silent when GVSU reserve center Korynn Hincka went to corral a defensive rebound, but planted awkwardly, causing her right knee to buckle.

Hincka was in obvious pain, and wouldn’t return to the game. She eventually came back to the Laker bench on crutches.

“The strides she’s made in the last four or five weeks have been unbelievable, so that was really tough to see,” Williams said.

The Lakers took a 33-19 lead into halftime, and if Northwood was going to mount any sort of comeback, a hot start to the second half would’ve been a nice place to start.

The second half did get off to hot start — just not for Northwood. Tucker hit a quick basket to open the frame, and Northwood committed a traveling violation a few moments later. Dawson followed that up with a contested 3-point make, and the Timberwolves answered with another turnover. The Lakers doubled the Timberwolves’ 19, and didn’t lose the lead for the rest of the game.

Dawson tied a career-high with 28 points, and Tucker complemented that with 12 points, five assists, and five boards.

“We were bringing the energy. My team had my back, I felt it, and I felt good shooting the ball,” Dawson said. “It was a great two wins.”

This week, the Lakers will hit the road to face rival Saginaw Valley State on Jan. 28 for the first edition of Battle of the Valleys 2016, and will finish the week at home on Jan. 30 against Hillsdale.