Saginaw Valley State
The No. 6 ranked Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team bounced back Thursday, Feb. 13 from a loss vs. No. 2 Ashland with a 72-34 win over conference rival Saginaw Valley State at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena. The Lakers, who improved to 22-2 overall and 14-2 in GLIAC play, clinched a home quarterfinal game in the GLIAC Tournament Tuesday, March 3 after the win and a Northern Michigan loss.
“We came in and were locked in right from the start tonight,” said GVSU Coach Mike Williams after the game. “Saginaw Valley has been playing a lot of good basketball lately — putting up a lot of points — and I think when they came at us we did a good job of staying in position defensively and cleaning up the glass when they did miss shots.”
Coming into the game, SVSU had scored 80-plus points in three straight conference matches, all of which they won. Instead of keeping up their newfound offensive prowess, the Lakers locked down the Cardinals, holding their team to just 24.5 percent shooting from the field (13-53) and 17.6 percent from three (3-17). Reigning GLIAC player of the week, Kaitlyn Zarycki, also had a long day facing off against the GVSU defense. Zarycki finished with four points on 2-11 shooting.
“(Zarycki) is a dynamite player that’s been playing really good basketball all year really,” Williams said. “I think we (defended her) by committee with a seal-gap center that we knew could help on ball screens with Cassidy (Boensch) and Maddie (Dailey) did a great job switching onto her when we needed to switch and stay high.”
Senior center Cassidy Boensch and senior guard Jenn DeBoer both stuffed the stat sheet to lead the Lakers. Boensch finished with 22 points (8-12 field goal), nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks, while DeBoer had 13 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists. Sophomore guard Brooke McKinley tied a season-high with three triples and finished the evening with nine points.
“I was challenged to post up harder and I think that was the goal that would help our offense move more,” Boensch said. “I like to think I did that today and our guards also shot the ball really well, so it was a great day.”
DeBoer also attributed her performance to a more aggressive mindset during practice leading up to their game against SVSU.
“It felt good, I just think this past week I’ve focused on being more aggressive and getting back to attacking the basket harder,” DeBoer said. “That’s allowed me to push the ball and keep my eyes up so that I can find my teammates and not be as hesitant as I’ve been lately.”
The Lakers were coming off their worst shooting performance of the season (32.3 percent) last time out against Ashland, but followed that up tonight with a solid 50.9 percent mark from the floor, including 7-18 (38.9 percent) from behind the arc. GVSU’s bench contributed 22 points compared to just eight from SVSU’s bench and also held the edge in rebounds (41-30), steals (14-10), blocks (9-2), and points in the paint (42-16).
SVSU opened the game with a layup to go up 2-0 before GVSU would quickly gain the lead at 4-2 and not look back. At the halfway mark of the first quarter with the Lakers leading 9-7, Boensch finished a layup to ignite a 14-0 run which was capped off on back-to-back three pointers by Taryn Taugher and Victoria Hedemark.
GVSU led 23-9 at the end of the first quarter and began the second quarter on a 12-2 run to increase their lead to 35-11 with 5:22 left in the first half. Saginaw Valley scored on consecutive possessions before the GVSU defense held the Cardinals without a point for the final 4:31 of the half and took a 42-15 lead into the halftime break.
The Lakers continued to build their lead in the second half, scoring the final 10 points of the frame and led 63-26 entering the fourth quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, DeBoer buried a mid-range jump shot to increase the lead to a game-high 39 points at 65-26, and GVSU would go on to give up their third fewest points on the season by the final buzzer with a 38 point win over the Cardinals, 72-34.
The No. 6 ranked GVSU women’s basketball team defeated Northwood, 67-51, Saturday, Feb 15 at Riepma Arena. The Lakers improved to 23-2 overall and 15-2 in league play, while the Timberwolves drop to 8-17 and 6-11 in the GLIAC.
Senior center Cassidy Boensch had another monster day with 22 points, a season-high 16 rebounds, and six blocks, while senior forward Maddie Dailey scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Victoria Hedemark contributed eight points and seven rebounds. Defensively, the Lakers held Northwood to just 31.3 percent shooting from the field, while also out-rebounding the Timberwolves 49-35.
GVSU opened the game on an 8-0 run, holding Northwood without a point until the 3:24 mark of the first quarter, but the Timberwolves would chip away and cut the deficit to 13-8 by the end of the first frame. Taryn Taugher and Hedemark hit back-to-back threes early in the second quarter to move the Laker lead to 19-10 before Northwood went on an 8-0 run of their own to pull within one point at 19-18 with 6:44 to go in the half. GVSU led 25-22 at the half.
The second half was all GVSU. After a layup to begin the half, the Lakers went on a 14-1 run to bring the lead to 39-25 with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter. GVSU would continue to grow the margin in the fourth quarter, going up a game-high 21 points midway through the fourth quarter.
The Lakers will travel to the U.P next week to take on Northern Michigan Feb. 20 and Michigan Tech Feb. 22.