Women’s Basketball’s record-breaking win streak ends in GLIAC Finals


GVL / Dominic Stankiewicz

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

After a school record of 22 consecutive wins, the no. 2 Grand Valley State University (26-2) women’s basketball team suffered its second loss this past weekend, March 6, to Ferris State University (22-9) in the GLIAC Tournament Championship game.

“I think Ferris is a really good team and (in) any one game, like today, anybody can beat anybody and they beat us,” said coach Mike Williams. “They were the better team today.” 

Following a tightly contested, low-scoring first half, which included 15 total turnovers in the first quarter alone, the Lakers held a slim 21-20 advantage over the Bulldogs heading into the break. However, FSU came out of the locker room with their foot on the gas, gaining their largest lead of the contest with 7:36 remaining in the 4th quarter, 36-34.

GVSU countered with a run of its own as senior guard Emily Spitzley scored seven consecutive points for the Lakers, getting the team within four points with 40 seconds left in the game and possession of the ball following the called timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Lakers attempted to go inside for the quick two-point basket with sophomore center Josylyn Brennan who had only played 12 minutes in the game, electing to not get the ball in the hands of Spitzley or sophomore guard Ellie Droste the two leading scorers on the season for GVSU.  

“That was the play call (it wasn’t a broken play) — get a quick two down by two then try to get a stop, call a timeout and get another crack at a two,” Williams said. “If we had to foul we had to foul, but with 43 or 44 seconds to go we had plenty of time.”

Brennan missed the contested layup and the Bulldogs went on to win the game by a score of 59-51, securing its first GLIAC Tournament Championship in program history.

Prior to the loss against FSU, the Lakers did have two strong showings to advance to the finals. First, defeating Northern Michigan University (12-16) in the quarterfinals 71-52.

Senior forward Hannah Kulas led the way for the Lakers, scoring a game-high 16 points while shooting an impressive five of six from behind the arch. 

In the semifinals against Michigan Technological University (18-11), the Lakers came away with another double-digit victory, defeating the Huskies 71-57. 

With the Lakers on the brink of closing out the game leading 60-45, Spitzley had a steal off a pass and took a coast-to-coast to give GVSU a 17 point lead with 5:11 remaining to play, helping ice the game.

“I just saw a wing-to-wing kind of pass and I thought I could get a hand on it,” Spitzley said. “Then the adrenaline just kicked in and I felt like I was going really fast and then I made the layup.”

All three games were also played without All-GLIAC First-Team honoree, sophomore forward Rylie Bisballe, who suffered a right-hand injury in the last game of the regular season. 

Williams said he felt his team did a good job of stepping up in Bisballe’s absence and preaches to his players to always be ready when their time comes.

“We talk about it all the time. We tell everybody you need to work while you wait, work while you wait, work while you wait,”  Williams said. “When the time comes you need to be ready and I think our players do a great job of that.”

Losing to FSU also caused the Lakers to drop one spot in the Midwest Regional rankings, meaning they will no longer host any NCAA tournament games.