GVSU women’s basketball splits Ohio series

GVL / Emily Frye
Junior forward Kayla Dawson on Nov. 19th.

GVL / Emily Frye Junior forward Kayla Dawson on Nov. 19th.

Beau Troutman

While most of the Grand Valley State student body enjoyed its last few days of the holiday break, it was business as usual for the women’s basketball team, which travelled down to the Buckeye State for a two-game road trip. The Lakers (10-4, 5-3 GLIAC) lost to Walsh (9-4, 6-2 GLIAC) 79-66 on Jan. 7, but followed up the loss with an 89-42 win at Malone (5-8, 2-6 GLIAC) on Saturday.

“I think the team lacked a little bit of energy on Thursday, and I don’t think I had them prepared to guard Walsh, or do the things we need to do to guard them,” said GVSU head coach Mike Williams.

The Lakers fell into a 46-32 halftime hole thanks to a 33-point explosion by Walsh in the second quarter, and the lack of energy was apparent from the start. GVSU only managed to hit three shots from behind the arc on sixteen tries, equalling a grand total of 18.8 percent.

Such low numbers are unusual for a team which averages 10 3-point makes per game.

“The ball lacked energy,” Williams said. “Walsh took away our arc shots and made us go to the basket, and we didn’t really want to do it.”

One player who didn’t lack energy was forward Kayla Dawson. She finished with 28 points, seven boards and four steals. While she was happy with her performance, Dawson said a win is more important than a good stat line.

“If the energy is up for the whole team, it allows the individuals to play a lot better and be more confident in themselves,” she said.

After a day to recharge, the Lakers had no shortage of energy at Malone, and more than doubled the Pioneers’ score in the 89-42 win. The victory gave GVSU its first conference road win of the season.

“(Saturday), I thought we came with some energy,” Williams said. “They were kind of disappointed with what happened on Thursday, and I thought they followed up with a lot of energy.”

Backup center Korynn Hincka was a force for the Lakers off the bench. She finished the day with 15 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Dawson followed up her big night against Walsh with another stellar performance, finishing with 17 points on 100 percent shooting.

The Pioneers shot 31 percent from the field on 13-of-42 shooting as a team, including 3-of-15 from behind the arc. In addition, they were outrebounded 35-22, and committed 10 more turnovers than the Lakers.

“We finished, got our rebounds on the defensive end, and didn’t let them get back in the game with offensive rebounds, which has been a struggle for us, especially against Walsh,” Dawson said. “(Saturday) we just had a lot more energy. Shoot around went really good, and we all had a different mindset going in.”

Saturday’s win puts the Lakers one game behind the four teams currently tied for second place in the GLIAC. Williams feels it’s so far so good for his Lakers, but there’s still room for improvement as GVSU nears the midway point of the season.

“It’s a team that’s been really good offensively, and we’re just trying to get a little bit better defensively each day. We take a couple steps forward and one step back, and hopefully we can keep moving forward defensively. A lot of it is just bringing energy all the time, so hopefully we can keep doing that,” he said.

The Lakers will be back defending home court this week, with games against Northern Michigan on Thursday and Michigan Tech on Saturday.