Women’s basketball flattens Warhawks in exhibition match


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Gabriela Garbey, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State women’s basketball tipped off their season with a blowout win at home against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater that finished 84-33.

The exhibition was the first time out for the Lakers as the Warhawks would open up the game with a layup exactly one minute into the game, but this would be the first and last time the opponent was on top of GVSU.

Redshirt sophomore Joslyn Brennan added the first points for the Lakers with a layup of her own to tie the score 2-2, ultimately leading to her first free throw attempts to take the lead, 4-2.

Even with a full-court defensive set with man-to-man pressure, GVSU’s offense wouldn’t be fazed as a few substitutions and a strong run led to the first quarter ending 18-6 in favor of the Lakers. 

GVSU didn’t hesitate to expand on the lead with their offense, but their ramped-up defensive efforts played a huge factor in containing Whitewater as a full-court press allowed them to rack up seven steals.

However, the fast-paced efforts led to multiple empty possessions as the Lakers ended with 10 and the Warhawks with nine themselves.

One of the costly turnovers by Whitewater would come with just five seconds left to play in the quarter from a steal by senior guard Emily Sptizley who found senior forward Hannah Kulas. Kulas pulled up just before the buzzer and cashed in the three, sending the Laker bench into a frenzy and capping off a dominant 39-19 lead heading into the break.

In an effort to hopefully swing momentum into their favor, Whitewater started the second half with substitutions as GVSU looked to close out the exhibition in their favor.

Intense pressure by the Lakers forced an early over-the-back turnover as the home crowd and GVSU bench electrified the arena.

The rest of the third was all about GVSU as they contained their opponent to a mere eight points as the Lakers would jump out to a 61-27 lead heading into the final quarter. 

Defense and offense would highlight the fourth once more, as the Lakers outscored their previous three quarters (23 points) and closed out the game in strong fashion while holding Whitewater to six points once again, 84-33.

“Our team is excited and ready to start the season ranked number 1 in the division,” said sophomore guard Abrie Cabana. “Today was a good exhibition against a good division three team. We are focused and determined to work hard and finish the season on top while taking it one game at a time.”

Cabana logged 15 minutes in the exhibition while adding three points, three rebounds and a steal to the win.

The team overall shot the lights out as they finished 33-63 overall (52.4% FG) with strong numbers in the first three quarters as well; 54.5% first, 52.9% second and 64.3% third. 20 second chance points, 16 fast break points and 51 bench points also highlighted the huge efforts from GVSU overall. 

Brennan led the team with 15 points (6-7 overall) in 13 minutes, while both senior guard Emily Spitzley (6-7 FG, four steals) and redshirt freshman guard Paige Vanstee (5-6 FG, four steals) each finished with 12 points.

Kulas was perfect from the field on four-of-four shooting (10 points, 2-2 3PT) as redshirt sophomore guard Ellie Droste would be the only other Laker to be just shy of double-digit points (nine total, 4-9 shooting).

The Lakers will begin regular-season games against Missouri – St. Louis. and Maryville University this week (Nov. 11-12) on the road.