GVSU women’s hoops splits weekend series

GVL / Emily Frye
Senior guard Brionna Barnett on Nov. 19th.

GVL / Emily Frye Senior guard Brionna Barnett on Nov. 19th.

Beau Troutman

The Grand Valley State women’s basketball team was one half of basketball away from a 2-0 road trip, which included games against Tiffin on Friday and Ohio Dominican on Sunday.

The Lakers defeated Tiffin 73-50 in the weekend opener, but crumbled in the second half of the ODU game to take a 79-72 loss. The Panthers outscored the Lakers 45-28 in the second half, despite GVSU taking a 10-point lead into halftime.

“Defensively, we’re struggling, for lack of a better term,” said GVSU head coach Mike Williams. “(The Panthers) were much more aggressive than we were. They beat us up and down the floor, they attacked the glass on the offensive end, and got second chance opportunities.”

At halftime, the Lakers (6-3, 2-2 GLIAC) appeared to be in control with a 44-33 cushion. Point guard Brionna Barnett led all scorers with 13 points, and the Panthers (7-2, 3-1 GLIAC) had only one player, Madi Rittinger, in double figures with 11.

The second half was a different story. The Panthers shot 50 percent from the field and got to the free throw line 13 times, compared to the Lakers’ 35.5 shooting percentage and only five trips to the charity stripe. The Panthers scored 26 points in the third quarter, after failing to score over 20 points in either the first or second quarter.

“There were times in the second half when we gave them second, third, even fourth chances at getting a score again, and they did that, so that’s what really killed us,” Barnett said.

The Panthers had 18 second-chance points, compared to the Lakers’ four. The Lakers were more than doubled in rebounding, as ODU held a 50-21 advantage on the glass.

“That’s what really killed us,” Barnett said. “That’s why we lost the game.”

Four Panthers scored in double figures: Melissa Scherpenberg (21), Rittinger (20), Darian Rose (15), and Lauren Bates (14). Barnett had a game-high 22 points on 9 of 19 shooting for the Lakers, but was only one of two Lakers with over 10 points. The other, Lindsay Baker, finished with 11 after hitting a 3-pointer with under two minutes left in the game.

The game against Tiffin (2-6, 0-4 GLIAC) on Friday went much better for the blue and white. GVSU dominated in virtually every category, and held the lead for 35 out of 40 minutes in the game.

“I thought we did a good job against Tiffin, doing the things that we needed to do,” Williams said. “I thought we did well on the glass, defended well, got back in transition, and obviously offensively we were really efficient.”

Sophomore center Korynn Hincka scored a career-high 14 points to go along with nine rebounds and two steals in just 19 minutes off the bench. Hincka said it was fun to go out and perform at a high level.

“My teammates, they worked the ball around and they got it in the post,” she said. “The ball had a lot of energy in the game against Tiffin, and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”

Hincka was part of a GVSU inside presence that scored 34 points in the paint, and part of a bench that had 25 points. As a team, the Lakers shot 48.3 percent from the field, and held the Dragons to just 34.7 percent.

On the season, the Lakers have scored 353 points in the first half, while only allowing 264 points.

GVSU has accumulated 302 points in the second half, while allowing 306 to opponents, including 170 in the fourth quarter.

Williams stressed that his team and the coaches need to focus more on finishing games, and the numbers agree.

“We just have to keep working at it,” Williams said. “The meaning of getting stops and finishing plays, I don’t know if we understand that yet, but we’re working towards it. I don’t know if the things I’m doing in preparation for it are the right things. We’ve got to assess the things that we’re doing from our end, and my end as a coach.”

GVSU will host the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Dec. 20.