GVSU women’s basketball shows no quit in exhibition opener against MSU
The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team gave up plenty in a 91-47 loss to Michigan State University on Sunday, including size, points and a distinct home court disadvantage at the Breslin Center.
GVSU did not, however, give up, a crucial denotation as the Lakers embark upon their 2013-14 campaign.
“Our goal this season is to continue to define what GVSU women’s basketball is all about,” GVSU coach Janel Burgess said. “We play at a high pace, our tempo will be tremendous, which should be fun to watch, I think, and we’ll continue to be the selfless team we’ve shown to be in the last 12 weeks of preseason.”
GVSU junior forward Kat LaPrairie knocked down a three and senior guard Dani Crandall hit a layup, allowing the Lakers to open the exhibition on a 5-2 run. The run was short lived though as MSU would lead from 13:54 minute mark on.
Texas southern transfer, junior guard Janelle McQueen, debuted with the Lakers in the contest to the tune of 12 points and eight rebounds, leading GVSU in both categories.
“They’re bigger than us, which we can’t help, but really, it was just another game,” McQueen said. “I’ve played at Baylor, at Arkansas, at plenty of other Division I schools at their places, but as a team, we’ll grow from this.”
The Spartans outrebounded the Lakers 33-25, although GVSU did grab nine offensive boards leading to eight second-chance points.It was the self-inflicted errors – two quick fouls to Dani Crandall in the second half, six missed layups and a 9 of 17 mark from the free throw line – that proved most troublesome for the Lakers.
“I thought we probably played a solid 35 minutes, to be flat out honest,” Burgess said. “I thought we executed well on the offensive end, but defensively against a great Big 10 team, if you have slip ups, they’re going to make everyone know that you screwed up.
A lot of our screw-ups came on commination on switches or rebounding, and if we can clean up those two things – which are easy cleanups – we’ll improve a lot, quickly, and be pretty solid.”
Nine Lakers will return from last year’s third place GLIAC North team (19-8, 15-7 GLIAC), including starting guard Crandall, the lone senior on this year’s team. Crandall averaged 8.0 points and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting 44 percent from the field.
“Tonight, we really tried to focus on ourselves and do the things we know we can do,” Crandall said. “I think we did that and showed a lot of people that we’re going to be in a good place this year.”
GVSU has played MSU annually since 2005 and has established a 3-11 record against the Spartans. The frame set in place, the Laker program is still in search of a defining moment and hopes to find it this season.
“We have been pretty disappointed in our final results the last few years and our goal this year is to take the GLIAC,” Crandall said. “I think our confidence got boosted tonight, knowing that we can score. We got opportunities against bigger, much more athletic players than what we will see in the GLIAC. We really have to work on our communication, our physicality and have a few little things to clean up, but this was a really great start for us.”
The Lakers will host Madonna Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. to wrap up exhibition play.
“I’m very proud of the long ladies on our roster and tonight and for the rest of the season, we have to give them everything we can,” Burgess said. “This is a great group of kids. They focus on each other and not who gets the glory, and we’re excited to challenge ourselves everyday on the court.”