Women’s Basketball has historic weekend


GVL / Sydney Lim

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

The no. 3 Grand Valley State University (23-1) women’s basketball team picked up two more wins this past week, expanding their winning streak to 18. However, the victories brought a lot more meaning this time around as the Lakers clinched the regular-season GLIAC championship.

“You want to win the conference, that’s your number one priority,” said coach Mike Williams. “So it was nice to do that, especially in this conference. I think it’s a really good conference. We’ve probably had a couple of breaks, played maybe more consistent basketball than someone else, but we’re certainly not better than anyone else. We’ve just been consistent and got some breaks.” 

On top of the GLIAC championship, Williams also reached a new milestone, securing his 300th career win in his head coaching career between his time at GVSU and Davenport University. 

“When you are at great places, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to win,” Williams said. “When you’ve got great players like we do, people that really buy into your program, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to win.” 

As if those weren’t enough, the first NCAA regional rankings were released and the Lakers came in at number one in the Midwest region, edging out Ashland University, which is currently one spot ahead of GVSU in the coach’s poll at number two. This means if the Lakers win out, the Midwest region will most likely have to go through Allendale.

“I don’t think our kids get caught up in it, I really don’t,” Williams said. “I think maybe what it does is, it puts a little more pressure on them and we have to take care of that. As coaches, we have to do something to curve that.”

The first victory of the week came on the road at Davenport University (2-23), which was a battle between first and last place in the GLIAC. However, the Panthers gave the Lakers all they could handle.

In the second quarter, the Panthers gained a 17-12 lead and held the Lakers scoreless for the first four minutes and 30 seconds. Laker sophomore center Joslyn Brennan broke the cold spell with a layup to give GVSU their first basket of the quarter. 

From there, the Lakers began to turn it around and finished the half on a 13-3 run, which was capped off by senior guard Qay Stanton beating the buzzer with a layup. 

“Obviously, I know the first half was not pretty for a lot of us,” said sophomore guard Ellie Droste. “We kind of discussed at halftime like, ‘okay, this is where we need to step up and stuff.’ So I think our whole team just tried our best to kind of step up in the second half.”

After a low-scoring third quarter, the Lakers still struggled to pull away, holding a slim 32-28 lead. Droste gave the Lakers a major boost to begin the final quarter of play, scoring the team’s first eight out of nine points and leading GVSU to a 54-44 victory.

Droste led the way with a game-high 15 points, adding five rebounds and two assists. Brennan added a spark off the bench, tailing nine points, two rebounds and a steal. 

Finishing off the week, the Lakers had their annual Senior Day game, which is held on the last home game of the regular season, against Northwood University (15-9), securing a 70-61 win over the Timberwolves.

It was another hard-fought victory for the Lakers, as the Timberwolves tied the game with 4:28 remaining in the game.

On the ensuing possession, senior guard Emily Spitzley made her way inside the lane and finished a contested layup to help the Lakers regain the lead. 

“In this game, we tried to attack layups and our takes a little more confidently,” Spitzley said. “At Davenport, we were a little bit more hesitant after we missed a couple layups. So going into today, coach just gave us a good talk about paying free and let go of anything that might be weighing you down.” 

GVSU went on to hold Northwood to three points throughout the course of the last four minutes of play.

“We talked about doing a couple three things basically; don’t give them a layup, get into their space quickly on their threes, don’t try to block them or foul them,” Williams said. “Then we just talked about making contact and blocking out to not give up a second shot.” 

Spitzley finished the contest with 17 points and three assists, while Droste filled the stat sheet with 12 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. 

Looking ahead, the Lakers have two roads games to close out the regular season, heading to Wayne State University before taking on Saginaw Valley State University, who delivered the team their only loss of the season. The Lakers will then return home to host the GLIAC tournament.