Taylor Parmley leads GVSU women’s basketball to first conference victory over Wayne State

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Taylor Parmley. Grand Valley Basketball on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Taylor Parmley. Grand Valley Basketball on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.

Brady McAtamney

The Grand Valley State women’s basketball team opened up its conference season with a thrilling triumph on the road Thursday, Nov. 30, over the Wayne State Warriors 73-67 in overtime. After the game, the Lakers improved to 6-1 (1-0 GLIAC) while knocking the Warriors to 5-2 (0-1 GLIAC).

While close the entire way with nine lead changes and five ties, the Lakers never doubted themselves and rallied together to clinch the win.

“(Close games are) why we play,” said senior Taylor Parmley. “We don’t play basketball to win by 40 or lose by 20—we play and practice for situations like this. We get to pull together as a team and see what we can do. The whole team just needs to vie together and pull out a win.

“I think we just believed in each other. Down the stretch, we just kept believing because if you don’t, you won’t do it. We just stuck with it, and I’m just so proud of us, especially being such a young team.”

Things started well for the Lakers as they took a slim 13-12 lead after the first quarter, but the Warriors fired back with a 17-12 second quarter to take a 29-25 lead into halftime. Then the Parmley show began.

The forward from Mishawaka, Indiana, took over in the second half, scoring 15 points on seven of 12 shooting, including a layup with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

“It’s a team sport, so none of it would have been possible without my teammates,” Parmley said. “I just knew if they weren’t guarding me close they wouldn’t have a chance. I was just doing what I could do to put our team in the best place, and if that’s scoring 30 points, great, or even if it’s scoring 2.”

The Lakers managed to outscore their opponents 33-29 in the second half before running away with a 15-9 run in OT.

“I think our kids showed a lot of maturity, and they had confidence,” said head coach Mike Williams. “We made some big plays and got some big rebounds. We did a good job getting the ball inside, and then defensively we didn’t put them at the free-throw line. Their best player, Shannon Wilson, went out down the stretch, and they struggled to score with her out, and I thought that helped us a little.”

Parmley finished with 31 points on 14 of 20 shooting with 11 rebounds to give GVSU their second double-double in as many games. Senior center Korynn Hincka was one rebound away from another double-double as she finished with 12 points and nine boards. Guard Jenn DeBoer and forward Maddie Dailey each added 10 points of their own.

Each team committed double-digit turnovers (GVSU’s 17 to WSU’s 16), grabbed exactly 40 rebounds and scored over half of their total points in the paint (GVSU’s 38 to WSU’s 36), but where the Lakers stood out from the Warriors was on the rest of the field.

The Lakers shot 29 of 60 for the game, a 48.3 percent clip, and six of 13, 46.2 percent, from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Warriors connected on only 27 of 67 shots for 40.3 percent from the field and four of 19 for 21.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Still, GVSU wants to see better defense from themselves, among other things, moving forward.

“I think defensively we need to do a better job staying in front of players,” Williams said. “I thought our rotations defensively could get a little bit better, and offensively we could get cleaner with the ball. We turned it over a lot in the first half. We need to take care of the ball.”

Parmley echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“Our awareness on defense could be better, just staying in front of people,” she said. “We’re trying to test those waters. We get beat a lot, so just staying in front of our player is key. That was our theme of the week.”