GV women’s basketball team competes against Division I Wolverines in exhibition game


GVL Archives

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team traveled to Ann Arbor this past Thursday, Nov. 4, to take on a Division 1 powerhouse, the no. 11 ranked University of Michigan, in an exhibition game. The Lakers fell to the Wolverines by a score of 80-57 as the Wolverines shot nearly 50% from beyond the three-point. 

Sharpshooting from the Wolverines began right from the tip, as their first 12 points all came from beyond the arc, making their first four out of five three-point attempts. 

“We thought we’d make them shoot some contested threes and they shot the ball really well,” head coach Mike Williams said. “They got us on the back-side on some flare screens that we weren’t really prepared for.”

As the first quarter wore on, the Lakers seemed to settle in and started to chip away at the early lead the Wolverines gained. Williams played a total of nine players throughout the course of the first quarter, in part because of the extreme amount of inexperience and youth on the roster with 12 of the 18 players being freshmen. 

“It’s an exhibition game so we are trying to let players play and try to get players in,” Williams said. “We want to go a little bit deeper this year, we think we are kind of even across the board. There’s not a talent separation–we’ve got 18 players on the team and all 18 are pretty good.”

Junior guard Emily Spitzley swished home a three-point jumper off an assist from senior guard Qay Stanton midway through the second quarter to cut Michigan’s lead to single digits. However, that would be the last time the game would be within single digits as the Wolverines managed to keep the Lakers at a distance. Every time it looked as though the game may get close, Michigan would reassert their dominance. 

Coming out of halftime holding a 40-26 lead, the Wolverines went on a massive 14-2 run that gave them a sizable 54-28 advantage with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter. Spitzley put an end to the Wolverine’s run with a three-point basket that came off an assist from junior guard Samantha Gehrls. 

“They (Michigan) are a really talented team, but they are really a mentally tough team,” Williams said. “They took advantage of us in spurts because of their mental toughness and just their understanding of the game.” 

Spitzley, who scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter, helped lead the Lakers to go on a run of their own to conclude the third quarter, ending the quarter outsourcing the Wolverines 13-2, which included a buzzer-beating three-point shot from freshman point guard Ellie Droste. 

“It’s a good sign anytime you go on runs like that, but you have to do them when the game is on the line,” Williams said. “That’s what we’re going to work at, once you separate and you are down by 20 or 25 or whatever it is, it’s a little easier to play, but we have to work on playing in those pressure situations.” 

Even with momentum heading into the final quarter of play, the comeback effort wouldn’t be enough, as the Wolverines rolled through the fourth quarter outscoring the Lakers 20-13.

“It was a good learning experience for us as a coaching staff and for our kids as players,” Williams said.

Spitzley added four rebounds and a block to her 16 point performance for the Lakers. Droste chipped in with 12 points and two rebounds, while sophomore forward Courtney Sharland contributed with seven points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Michigan senior forward Naz Hillman, who was the Big Ten conferences’ women’s basketball Player of the Year last season, led the game with 25 points and 14 rebounds. 

The Lakers will open its regular season on Friday, Nov. 12, against the University of Missouri St. Louis at the GVSU Fieldhouse in Allendale, Michigan.