Lakers clinch regular season conference championship with rout of Davenport

Cassidy Boensch guards a Northern Michigan player. 

GVL / Katherine Vasile, 2/21/2019

Cassidy Boensch guards a Northern Michigan player. 

GVL / Katherine Vasile, 2/21/2019

Brady McAtamney

With their 73-48 win over the Davenport Panthers at Fieldhouse Arena on Thursday, Feb. 28, the No. 8 ranked Grand Valley State women’s basketball team has officially clinched the regular season GLIAC championship for the first time since 2006.

“That’s the thing you want to do. Everyone talks about winning a national championships and all that stuff and tournament runs, but really what you can do for 20 games in your conference season, what you can do through the long haul, the consistency, how will you play game in, game out, I think tells a lot,” said head coach Mike Williams. “For us, it’s pretty special. We think this is a really good conference, we think the GLIAC’s one of the top conferences in the country and so for these ladies to do that, to stay with it for the long haul and win the conference outright is pretty cool.”

The Lakers finished the season 26-2 and 19-1 in GLIAC play including two wins over the defending champion Ashland Eagles. With the title comes the top seed and guaranteed home-court advantage in the conference tournament beginning on Tuesday, March 5. 

“This is really, really special,” said forward Maddie Dailey. “It’s been a goal for us since we lost that last game against Ashland last year. We worked all summer, we were together all summer, the conference championship was the first thing we wanted to accomplish and so we don’t want to stop now.”

The season finale win came after the Lakers trailed 8-1 mid-way through the first quarter but they eventually went on a 38-21 run to end the half before holding the Panthers to 19 points in the second half.

“(Davenport was) spot on in that first half offensively,” Williams said. “Then we talked about the fact that they got a lot of the 50/50 balls. They got nine offensive rebounds in the first half and we had one and missed the same amount of shots. They made the 50/50 plays, the toughness plays; I thought they won it in the first half. Then the second half, we did a better job responding to that.”

Center Cassidy Boensch led the game with 26 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, notching her 19th double-double of the season. She started slow, though, as Davenport’s size threw her off for much of the first half forcing adjustments to be made.

“I was just trying to make sure I was being effective for my team whether that was rolling or trying to drag their big kid out of the center,” Boensch said. “Coach kept trying to tell me go around her and I think that helped a little bit once I started listening.”

Guard Jenn DeBoer added 14 points, six rebounds and two steals while Dailey picked up a double-double herself with 11 points and 10 boards to go with two blocks. 

With the regular season over, postseason play with begin with Wayne State (13-15, 8-12 GLIAC) visiting Allendale for the GLIAC quarterfinal. The game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5.