GVSU women’s basketball takes down rival Ferris State 76-57

GVL/Hannah Zajac— Grand Valley State University vs. Ferris State on Saturday 20 Jan 2018.

Hannah Zajac

GVL/Hannah Zajac— Grand Valley State University vs. Ferris State on Saturday 20 Jan 2018.

Brady McAtamney

Coming into the two-game weekend, guard Natalie Koenig and center Korynn Hincka each predicted that the Grand Valley State women’s basketball squad would collect a pair of victories.

After pulverizing Lake Superior State on Thursday, Jan. 18, the Lakers came into Saturday, Jan. 20, ready to bring those predictions to fruition.

Unsurprisingly, the red-hot GVSU team crushed the rival Ferris State Bulldogs 76-57 (10-9, 4-7 GLIAC) to collect their third-straight victory and ninth win in their last 10 games while improving to 16-3 (9-2 GLIAC), though they did not quite know exactly how on-fire they truly were.

“I honestly don’t think the players know how many wins we have,” said head coach Mike Williams. “I really mean that. I really don’t. I think they approach one game at a time. I think they’re not business-like, but they’re not looking ahead, they’re not looking behind. They’re looking to the next game, and I think that’s a good thing. I really do.”

The Lakers were led by Koenig and guard Jenn DeBoer against FSU, with each scoring 19 points. Forward Maddie Dailey added 11, with Taylor Parmley and Hincka each contributing 7.

GVSU’s defense was impressive, too, as they forced FSU into shooting just 36.7 percent from the field and committing 20 turnovers.

“We tried to pressure the ball a little bit more, just tried to get up on their guards, try to help a lot,” DeBoer said. “They have a couple good post players, so we tried to help on them and get some steals on the back side.

“I think we just played really well altogether as a team. We had a lot of different players contributing on offense and defense. Our team chemistry has really been growing and has been getting stronger in the past few games.”

While the Bulldogs’ record might suggest that they are not a force to be reckoned with, the team actually came into Saturday’s matchup playing strong basketball, going 3-3 in their previous six games with a plus-48 scoring differential in those matchups.

GVSU knew this coming into Saturday’s game. They looked to play tight defense on their rivals, and despite holding them to only 19 first-half points, they came out of the game knowing they could have played better defense for the full 40 minutes.

“They’re averaging 80 points per game; that’s not a fluke,” Williams said. “We knew they could score. In the first half, they got some open looks and they just didn’t go in. In that third quarter, they got some open looks and they put them in. We gave them too-easy of open looks in that third period, and I think that’s just something we’ve got to get better at.”

The offensive end worked better, even if the Lakers scored only 10 first-quarter points. DeBoer was actually pulled out of the game by Williams for the opposite reason most people would expect: She wasn’t shooting enough.

She turned it on after that. The sophomore guard went on to shoot 5-10 from 3-point range, and she and Koenig combined to shoot 9-18 from downtown, combining for 38 points, seven rebounds and four steals along the way.

“I thought our guards hunted shots,” Williams said. “They’re good shooters, and we want them to hunt shots. Jenn DeBoer got pulled with about a minute and a half left in the first quarter for not hunting shots, and guess what, the rest of the game she hunted shots, so I think she got the message. She took 10 3s. If they’re going to let you take 10 3s, Jenn, you’ve got to take 10 3s.”

Following the pair of victories over the weekend, the Lakers will get a week to rest their bones before they host conference newcomer Purdue Northwest (2-14, 1-10 GLIAC) on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m.