Women’s basketball loses, misses out on GLIAC Tournament berth

GVL / Bo Anderson

Briauna Taylor shoots over her defender in Saturdays game against Ferris State.

Bo Anderson

GVL / Bo Anderson Briauna Taylor shoots over her defender in Saturday’s game against Ferris State.

Stephanie Deible

In an injury-filled season where the Grand Valley State University basketball did not have much go its way, it was almost fitting that the Lakers fought until the bitter end of their final game only to see their last-second shot bounce off the rim.

The Lakers (10-16,7-12 GLIAC) battled GLIAC North leader Ferris State University (20-5,17-2 GLIAC) for 40 minutes on Saturday before falling by a final of 46-44.

“I’m going to tell you what, we took it to a good Ferris team,” GVSU head coach Janel Burgess said. “Ferris is very, very good and I thought we made them uncomfortable and we dictated on both ends of the floor in so many aspects.”

With the ball and seven seconds to go, GVSU was aiming to push the contest into overtime, putting their hopes of extending the game in the hands of junior guard Briauna Taylor.

“The ball needed to go into Briauna’s hands,” Burgess said. “We ran it to a tee, I couldn’t have asked for much more in the sense of Briauna catching the ball and being able to get a shot up. I thought we got a decent look, they were going to have a couple people on her, but we back-screened the way we should and (Brianna) Kellogg was patient in delivering the ball.”’

Despite Burgess’ praise of the execution, Taylor could not get the jumper to fall.

Both teams struggled to find an offensive flow in the first half, shooting a combined 10 for 46 from the floor.

Burgess said the Lakers executed well throughout the contest, but could not get enough shots to drop.

Freshman center Emily England gave the Lakers a lift in the second half, scoring nine of her career-high 12 points.

“This whole week we focused on having an inside presence,” England said. “Ferris has a couple really dominant post players, so we wanted to go at them inside and be aggressive.”

England was able to deliver that inside presence, with four of her six rebounds on the offensive end.

“My first few minutes in there, I wasn’t getting many touches and I wasn’t being aggressive,” England said. “So Coach just told me to bury deeper and when I went back in, I was able to get good touches. My shots were falling and free-throws were hot.”

Despite shooting a season-low 24 percent, the Lakers were able to establish a six-point lead with just over six minutes to play.

“We’ve battled so much this whole entire year with injuries,” said senior forward Kara Crawford who played her final game as a Laker. “Our hard work was always something that was the core message with our team. In every possession, that’s what we did, we got after it.”

However, the Bulldogs had enough firepower to tie the game with 34 seconds to go and surged ahead for the victory.

“They outscored us by two, but even in the last play we worked hard,” Crawford said. “Briauna Taylor went in hard to try and draw a foul. Unfortunately it didn’t go in.”

With Northern Michigan University earning two victories this weekend, GVSU will not be a part of next week’s GLIAC Tournament.

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