Lakers blow out No. 1 Ashland, Wayne State in dominant weekend

Jenn DeBoer fades away for one of her many buckets against Ashland on Dec. 6 at GVSUs Fieldhouse Arena. 
Dan Pacheco / GVL

Jenn DeBoer fades away for one of her many buckets against Ashland on Dec. 6 at GVSU’s Fieldhouse Arena. Dan Pacheco / GVL

Brady McAtamney

The No. 15 Grand Valley State women’s basketball team scored. Then they scored again. Then again. Then again, and they scored themselves all the way to two blowout wins at home during the weekend with a 94-61 drubbing of the previously undefeated No. 1 Ashland Eagles on Thursday, Dec. 6 and a 73-42 victory over the Wayne State Warriors on Saturday, Dec. 8. 

Over the course of the two games, the Lakers never trailed and led for 118 minutes and 53 seconds out of 120 minutes of in-game time.

On Thursday, the Eagles, who were responsible for four of the Lakers’ seven losses last season, came into Fieldhouse Arena with a 69-game regular season winning streak and had never scored less than 84 points nor allowed more than 74 in a single game so far this season. That changed in Allendale, as the Lakers locked AU down, including holding reigning National Player of the Year Jodi Johnson to 10 points.

“We came in – again, it’s Ashland, with our battles – with a little more excitement, maybe a little more pep in their step to play the game,” said head coach Mike Williams. “I think we really came in and approached this game and really wanted to play good basketball. The message we sent was ‘let’s just go out and play good basketball,’ not worry about the score, not worry about anything. I thought our players did that. They bought in, they carried it out.”

Jenn DeBoer dropped 32 points, including six three-pointers, to set a new career high. She was complemented by Cassidy Boensch (19 points and 16 rebounds), Victoria Hademark (14 points) and Natalie Koenig (12 points) as the team shot a combined 55.7 percent from the field and 54.2 percent from three. 

“I just tried to stay confident on offense, tried to keep hunting shots and I think our team did a really good job moving the ball,” DeBoer said. “We had a lot of good off-ball movement and (Boensch) did a really good job of kicking the ball out and we just hunted shots. I thought everyone was very excited to play and everyone was engaged and everyone wanted to go out there and play our best.” 

Coming off their first win over Ashland in over four years, GVSU had to quickly refocus to Saturday, though the Warriors would receive a fate similar to that of the Eagles.

“I thought we did a real good job staying focused after all the hoopla on Thursday night,” Williams said. “We came in and played. I thought we were relentless with our energy, I thought we had some pop against a really good team so that was good to see we didn’t have a letdown.”

Just two nights after DeBoer and Boensch combined for over half the team’s points, four different players scored double digits for the Lakers against WSU as they were able to record 21 assists on 28 made shots. 

DeBoer and Maddie Dailey each scored 15 while Koenig added 14, but Boensch would emerge as the star of the night as she became the first Laker since the turn of the century to record a triple-double, scoring 11 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and swatting 10 shots. Boensch also led the team in assists, handing out six. 

“We were just really focused on playing strong defense together and we knew they were going to crash the boards hard from that angle so we knew we were going to have to be strong with them,” Boensch said. “I don’t think (my numbers) really hit me until I came out and coach mentioned something.”

The Lakers’ record now sits at 8-1 (4-0 GLIAC) after their momentous weekend. They will rest during exam week and return to Fieldhouse Arena on Monday, Dec. 17 against the Central State Marauders (3-6) at 1 p.m.