Lakers weather the Storm

Courtesy Photo / Ryan Baker - Baker Media Productions
Brittany Taylor and Alex Stelfox advance on Lake Eries defense during Saturdays away game

Courtesy Photo / Ryan Baker – Baker Media Productions Brittany Taylor and Alex Stelfox advance on Lake Erie’s defense during Saturday’s away game

Cleveland sports fans are known for their legendary year-round suffering, and the Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team only added to those woes with a 74-52 beat down of GLIAC newcomers Lake Erie College on Saturday night.

The Lakers closed out a successful 3-1 road trip with a win over the Storm after falling Thursday night to Ashland University, 55-54. Sophomore center Alex Stelfox and sophomore guard Briauna Taylor accounted for 37 points and 19 rebounds while nine different Lakers scored in the rout.

A strong first-half shooting performance in which the Lakers shot an even 50 percent from the field saw them take a 13 point lead into halftime, up 41-28.

GVSU opened the game on a 16-2 run and never looked back. The Stelfox-Taylor tandem alone almost outscored the Storm – the duo posted 26 of the Lakers’ 41 first-half points.

The win marked the 14th game this season in which the team has scored 70 or more points and was also the 14th game in which Stelfox, the 2009-10 GLIAC Freshman of the Year, scored 15 points or more.

“My teammates have been great all season with having confidence in me and getting me the ball in the low post,” she said. “We knew we needed to step up tonight after (Thursday’s) loss.”

Along with Stelfox, Taylor’s play has continued to carry the team over the last month. Posting 19 points and collecting ten rebounds, the sophomore earned her third double-double of the season.

Taylor dropped 26 points on Ashland in the loss on Thursday, but refused to accept credit for taking over when the team needed her.

“I think anybody on our team is capable of taking over,” she said. “Our offense has been playing very well lately, which I think is a credit to our work ethic and depth.”

The Stelfox-Taylor tandem has continued to impress head coach Janel Burgess all season.

“Having them playing as well as they both are has been pretty special,” she said. “They’re doing a phenomenal job helping us win and have continued to have a great presence on the court.”

For a team that has been resilient all season long – only dropping consecutive games on one occasion – the win signified the end to a successful 3-1 road trip. GVSU moved to 11-5 in GLIAC play with only three conference match-ups left on the schedule before the GLIAC tournament.

The team will return to Allendale for Thursday and Saturday games against conference foes University of Findlay and Wayne State University respectively before ending the regular season against Ferris State University in Big Rapids on Feb. 26.

Stelfox said she looks forward to the opportunity to lock up a solid playoff spot and play in front of the home fans after the lengthy two-week road trip.

“It’s definitely good to be going home,” Stelfox said. “It will be nice to see our home fans and play in a friendly atmosphere again.”

The Lakers tip off against the Oilers at 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

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