GV Women’s Basketball extends win streak to 12


GVL / Sydney Lim

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The no. 11 ranked Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team (17-1) extended their winning streak to 12 games with decisive wins against Parkside University (8-11) 67-34 on Jan. 27 and Purdue-Northwest University (6-12) 64-40 on Jan. 29.

The team’s latest win was a tight affair from tipoff. GVSU held a narrow 7-6 at the 6:29 mark in the first quarter. After a back and forth six minutes, which saw the Pride score five of the last seven points of the quarter, GVSU faced a narrow 15-13 deficit to start the second quarter.

GVSU was on fire in the second quarter, scoring seven unanswered points. Freshman guard Rylie Bisballe capped off the 7-0 run with a layup after a steal by sophomore forward Courtney Sharland.

However, Purdue-Northwest battled back, turning a five-point deficit into a 24-24 tie with 53 seconds remaining in the half. Junior guard Emily Spitzley wasn’t fazed by the lead evaporating, as she nailed a three-point shot with just 34 seconds left in the first half, giving the team a 27-26 lead going into the locker room.

While the team held the lead at the end of the first half, improvements had to be made going into the second if the Lakers were going to come out on top. 

“We weren’t clean offensively in this game; a lot of that was due to Purdue-Northwest,” Williams said. “They were really prepared defensively. I thought they took away a lot of things we wanted to do, they got us out of the post, and they went to the rim on us.”

GVL / Sydney Lim

The third quarter was a very different story. Spitzley picked up where she left off in the first half, as she canned a fast break three-pointer. On the very next possession, freshman Ellie Droste added a three of her own, extending their lead to eight points. The Lakers rode the momentum they gained all throughout the third quarter, going on a 19-5 run lasting until the 2:17 mark in the quarter.

“We were slow in the first half offensively, but at halftime we reminded ourselves to just stick to who we are, read the defense, take what it gives you, and that’s what we did,” Spitzley said. “We found some easy break-aways, some layups and easier looks that got us flowing better. Once we started clicking, things went better for us offensively.”

In the final quarter of regulation, GVSU’s stout defense shut the door on any chance of a Purdue-Northwest comeback, as the team only allowed four points the entire quarter. The team’s balanced scoring effort by the bench added 12 more points to their already big lead, winning the game 64-40.

“I thought we played a good basketball game for 40 minutes,” Williams said. “I thought we did a better job in the second half getting deep on the block, we hunted shots, saw our penetration better; defensively, we stayed in front of (Purdue-Northwest) better and got on their shooters.”

GVSU dominated in points off turnovers, outscoring the Pride 19-8. The team performed well on their fast break opportunities as well, scoring 15 more points than Purdue-Northwest. 

“A lot of times, (transition points) are our offense, I think we do a good job of pushing the ball and getting in transition,” Williams said. “Qay Stanton does a tremendous job when she has the ball in transition, she has a great floor presence in transition, before the defense gets set up, we get easier baskets.”

Spitzley led the team in scoring with 18 points. She made eight of her nine shots from the field with two three pointers.

Junior forward Hannah Kulas added 13 points of her own to go along with five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Senior Qay Stanton was a pest on the defensive end, nabbing four steals to go along with seven points. In the balanced scoring effort, all but four players recorded points.

“I think we have a lot of balance on our team and we talked at the beginning of the year that we think we’re deeper this year,” Williams said. “We’ve worked our tails off in practice to get ourselves ready when the opportunity comes, (the team) is playing with confidence and the starters and veterans make the players coming off the bench feel very comfortable and power them to play well.”

While some of the veterans have made huge contributions to the team’s success this season, the younger players have also been showing up ready to go.

“We have a group of redshirt freshmen that have been fantastic for us this year, they get us ready every single day in practice, they don’t get any of the glory, but they should get all the praise,” Spitzley said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be ready for any of our games.”

The team will return to the court on Feb. 3 where they put their winning streak on the line in Sault Ste. Marie to battle Lake Superior State University.