GVSU women’s hoops routs Ferris State

GVL / Adam Knorr - Piper Tucker (11) drives to the hoop for a layup. The Lakers down the Bulldogs of Ferris State with a final score of 80-46 Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 in Allendale.

Sara Carte

GVL / Adam Knorr – Piper Tucker (11) drives to the hoop for a layup. The Lakers down the Bulldogs of Ferris State with a final score of 80-46 Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 in Allendale.

A.A. Knorr

The start was slow and uninspired, but the final score wouldn’t suggest so. The Grand Valley State women’s basketball team caught fire after a sluggish first quarter and brushed away the Ferris State Bulldogs 80-46 at Fieldhouse Arena on Feb. 25.

The win, coming on Senior Night, was unique in that no seniors played. GVSU’s three seniors — Brionna Barnett, Jammie Botruff and Jill Steinmetz — watched from the sidelines for various reasons as their teammates trounced the Bulldogs.

“We’ve had a little bit of a rocky finish to our season, we’ve lost some games that we shouldn’t, but I think having this game round out our season, winning by 35 points, really just making a statement for our seniors, which is why we won this game today,” said junior Lindsay Baker.

“This is their day, this is their senior day and none of them got to play, so for us it was like let’s make them feel like they’re a part of this.”

The Lakers led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, and connected on just 5-of-18 of their shots. GVSU’s defense, however, was a bright spot, stifling Ferris State to the tune of eight team shots.

Though the game was tight after the first quarter, it never really was. GVSU’s vast skill advantage and superior coaching manifested itself in the second quarter, in which the Lakers outscored the Bulldogs 23-6 to take a 37-19 lead into halftime.

“Obviously we were a little jumpy (early) offensively,” said GVSU head coach Mike Williams. “The nice thing was that our defense really kind of kept us in the game until we started making some shots.”

Baker, a notorious sharpshooter, was the main catalyst in those made shots. In just 17 minutes of total playing time, Baker netted a game-high 23 points in smooth fashion, draining 7-of-12 3-point shots. Only one of Baker’s field goal makes came inside the arc.

“If (shooting) is what you do, you know when you’re going to be in a rhythm,” Baker said. “As a shooter all it takes is kind of hitting that first one and then having the confidence to keep shooting it.”

In the second half, the Lakers were able to cruise to the finish line of the regular season. While season-leading scorer Kayla Dawson struggled to eight points on 2-of-9 shooting, Baker and redshirt freshman Taylor Parmley were able to pick up the slack. Parmley finished with 17 points on a blistering 7-of-9 from the field to go with six rebounds.

GVSU assisted on 21 of its 28 field goal makes, and forced Ferris State into a whopping 25 turnovers. The Lakers scored 40 of their 80 points off of turnovers.

GVSU was also effective on the offensive glass, ripping down 13 offensive rebounds to Ferris State’s three.

“Sometimes that happens in a zone. You get that opportunity where they’re not sure who to block out,” Williams said. “We did a good job when the shot went up from the middle or it was an opposite-lane three, the wings crashed there and we got some offensive rebounds.”

The Lakers finished the season with exactly 20 wins, marking the fourth time in program history they completed back-to-back seasons with at least 20 wins.

With the win, GVSU clinched the No. 6 seed in the GLIAC tournament, and will travel to Houghton, Michigan to take on the No. 3 seed, Michigan Tech, on March 5 at 6 p.m.