Lakers lose three straight after 7-0 start

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#23 Kayla Dawson

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #23 Kayla Dawson

Adam Knorr

After ripping off seven consecutive wins to start the 2014-15 campaign, the Grand Valley State women’s basketball team came face to face with a three-game gauntlet on the road.

On Dec. 21, the No. 17 Lakers lost their first game of the season at No. 2 Lewis. On Friday, GVSU (7-3, 4-2) was overwhelmed, 89-63, by Shareta Brown and No. 11 Wayne State in Detroit. Findlay (6-4, 2-4 GLIAC) handed the Lakers their third straight loss on Sunday, 79-60

Friday’s matchup pitted the Lakers against Wayne State and reintroduced GVSU to Brown, a Detroit-Mercy transfer, who controlled the game in the low post with efficiency and power. Brown scored 32 points and pulled down 24 rebounds while shooting 12-of-15 from the field and converting 8-of-9 free throws.

The Lakers led 2-0 following a Piper Tucker jumper just 20 seconds into the game, but lost the lead and never regained it. Wayne State took a 44-30 lead into the half, and continued to coast following the break, outscoring GVSU 45-33 in the second half to improve to 8-1 (4-1 GLIAC).

“We didn’t come out with that sense of urgency like you need to,” said GVSU coach Janel Burgess. “You have to give them credit, especially in the low block… At the end of the day I’m really proud of how we finished the game. This is a learning experience.”

Tucker and fellow forward Jammie Botruff led the Lakers on the scoresheet, posting 11 and 13 points, respectively. GVSU made just 20 of 60 shots in the contest, including an 8-of-26 clip from the 3-point line. The Lakers pulled down 39 rebounds, but were outscored in the paint 46-14.

Kat LaPrairie nailed a pair of triples to give her 124 for her career, good for sixth place for career 3-pointers in GVSU history.

Following the defeat, GVSU tripped to Findlay, Ohio for its second conference tilt in three days. Again, the Lakers fell behind early and were unable to recover, ultimately falling 79-60 to the Oilers, who notched just their second conference win of the season.

“We need to have better starts, have more energy and be more aggressive,” Tucker said.

GVSU struggled to convert opportunities from the field, shooting 41 percent overall and 23.5 percent from behind the arc. Sophomore Kayla Dawson paced GVSU with 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting, while Tucker and Brionna Barnett each added 12.

LaPrairie was in foul trouble throughout the contest, and was held scoreless for the first time this season.

Findlay outrebounded GVSU 40-27, shooting 52.6 percent and pouring in over half its points within the paint. Karli Bonar drained six triples on seven attempts to lead Findlay with 18 points, while Lacey Kessler added 16 points and eight rebounds. Kelsey Lewis scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

“We had a rough start to the game and it definitely starts on defense for us,” Dawson said. “We need to come in and have a chip on our shoulder and have that attitude.”

The Lakers, who are 5-0 at home this season, return to Allendale for their next game on Thursday as they play host to Walsh (9-2, 3-3 GLIAC) at 6 p.m.