Defense leads GV Women’s Basketball to NCAA Final Four


Courtesy of Yahoo News

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

After advancing to their fourth Elite Eight appearance in school history, the Grand Valley State University (31-2) women’s basketball team defeated Missouri Western University (24-10) on March 21. The victory was fueled by yet another strong defensive showing — holding MWU to just 44 points — while the Lakers scored 67 of their own.

“I thought our players stuck to the game plan that coach Sayers and coach Parker prepared for them,” said coach Mike Williams. “It carried over today; I thought they did it as a team and they did a great job.”

Williams joined the team just hours before tipoff, as he travelled late and stayed in Michigan for a couple of extra days due to an undisclosed family emergency. 

“Today, we just played for our coach,” said senior guard Emily Spitzley. “He has been sacrificing a lot to be here for us today, so this win means a lot to us.” 

From the start, GVSU controlled a majority of the contest with effort and consistency on defense. The Lakers ended the half on a buzzer-beating two-point basket from junior guard Hannah Kulas to give GVSU an 11-point lead heading into the break. 

Out of the halftime intermission, the Griffons showed an improvement in energy and became more physical inside. However, they were only able to cut the Laker lead to nine with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter. From that point on, the Lakers dominated the Griffons, going on a 12-0 run and led the Griffons 51-30 with 1:11 remaining in the third quarter. 

The Lakers earned their largest lead of the game with 56 seconds remaining in the contest, as freshman guard Abrie Cabana capitalized on her trip to the free throw line.

Spitzley once again led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points while adding five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kulas finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. 

“I think last year, when we lost in the first round of the tournament, that really kind of set the tone for this whole season,” Kulas said. “Our team is capable of so much more and to finally get to these last two games, it really means a lot.”

Looking at the Final Four, the Lakers’ nation-leading defense will be put to the test against Glenville State University (33-1), who leads the nation in scoring averaging nearly 100 ppg.

GVSU will take on the Pioneers March 23 at 7 p.m. in the Bill Harris Arena.