Slow starts don’t stop GVSU women’s basketball from 2-0 weekend

Dan Pacheco/GVL

Dan Pacheco/GVL

Brady McAtamney

The No. 16 ranked Grand Valley State women’s basketball team trailed both Wisconsin-Parkside and Purdue-Northwest after the first quarters of their games on Thursday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 1. They won both games by a combined 43 points, beating the UWP Rangers 67-50 and the PUN Pride 75-49 over the weekend. 

“I thought (the weekend) was pretty good,” said head coach Mike Williams. “Both teams really attack the rim and attack threes. You’ve really got to be on red alert all the time. You’ve got to be on point because they have the ability to get tough shots off and make tough shots.”

On Thursday in Kenosha, Wis., the Lakers only scored nine points in the first quarter and 12 in the second, finding themselves down 26-21 at halftime to the Rangers. The second half would look much different, though, as GVSU more than doubled their score in the third quarter with a 24-10 outburst and added to their newfound lead with a 22-14 fourth. 

“We did a great job the second half,” Williams said. “We were much better with the ball. Shots fell, we got better shots, we got shots we wanted. I think we finished out the game. It was a 30-point swing, we were down about 10 or 11 and ended up going up by 20 from the end of that second quarter. We need to start a little better, but it’ll come.”

Cassidy Boensch scored 17 points and brought down 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Jenn DeBeor added 14 points while Maddie Dailey and Natalie Koenig each contributed nine apiece. 

As part of the itinerary, the Lakers made the long trek back to Allendale after the game, returning home at 3 a.m. on Friday morning before hosting a noon practice, attending classes and hitting the road again on Saturday morning for Hammond, Ind. 

Once again, GVSU came out flat against the Pride as they were outscored 17-13 in the opening quarter, though this time, they would turn it around sooner. The Lakers would outscore PUN by a combined 28 points in the second and third to run away with their sixth win of the season. 

“We just picked up the intensity and focused on our defense and took care of the ball on the low block,” Boensch said. “I think we rotated really well and talked to each other, we worked well together. That worked out well.”

Boensch dominated once again, netting 20 points with 16 rebounds. Koenig added 11 points and Taya Andrews scored nine. 

The Rangers and Pride shot a combined 36 for 127 from the field and 17 for 57 from three-point range in the two games, indicating that the Lakers’ defense was smothering. The opposing teams turned the ball over 30 times, had 12 shots blocked and managed only 19 offensive rebounds on their 91 misses. 

“Outside of that first quarter, we did a really good job of getting into the space of those shooters,” Williams said. “Our rotations were good and we rebounded really well; we didn’t give a lot of second chances.” 

Now at 6-1 (2-0 GLIAC), the Lakers will return home for conference battles with Ashland (7-0, 2-0) on Thursday, Dec. 6 and Wayne State (3-4, 1-1) on Saturday, Dec. 8. Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m. from Fieldhouse Arena.