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GVSU women edge LSSU, lose at Northwood

Lakers shake up starting lineup before 1-1 week


The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team trotted out its fifth different lineup of the season during a 74-67 victory over Lake Superior State University on Thursday.

It was GVSU’s’ first home game in two weeks. It was the first win in its last four games. It was a game that was highlighted by retro uniforms unveiled for a “Throwback Thursday” promotion, and characterized by a team — not just a starting five — that wore them.

“We were looking to create a little bit of a different look on the defensive end, while also keeping ball handlers out on the other end,” head coach Janel Burgess said of her new-look starting five. “We came out of the gates strong with the new rotation, even though we were undersized, and that’s exciting that we can succeed with a variety of looks.”

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Jill Steinmetz GVL / Robert Mathews

Senior guard Dani Crandall compiled her first double-double of the season in the win with 15 points and 10 rebounds to go with assists.

Freshman forward Kayla Dawson beat Crandall to the punch and tallied the first double-double for the Lakers on the season, notching a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds in just her second career with GVSU.

“I wouldn’t have had any of my points without my teammates, so my performance is just a reflection of a great team effort,” Dawson said. “We were diving after loose balls, being aggressive, playing with passion and a lot of heart.”

Freshman teammate Taylor Lutz also got the start, the first of her career, and scored 14 points to accompany a career-high six rebounds and five assists.

GVSU held a 49-36 advantage in rebounds, 23 of which came on the offensive end, but despite the discrepancy on the glass, the score remained tied at 31-31 at the conclusion of the first half. It wasn’t until the second stanza that the Lakers made their move.

GVSU started the second half just as it had in the first — by firing at and filling the basket. The Lakers scored seven unanswered points and never looked back.

“It was very exciting,” Lutz said of her first start. “I love playing with those girls and being back at home on our court, it just feels right. It was a fun game and we were motivated to come out, finally back home, and start the game well, which we did. We also finished, and it was good to put a W up on the board.”

On Saturday afternoon, GVSU returned the same starting five to the floor, but was unable to replicate Thurday’s result away from home. The Lakers’ led by seven points at halftime, but were outscored 47-31 in the second half and fell, 73-64, to Northwood.

Dawson once again led the Lakers in scoring and paced GVSU with 13 points. Crandall added 11 points and the two combined to knock down 9-of-16 shots and collect 14 rebounds. Crandall also dished out a game-high six assists.

Sophomore center Jill Steinmetz netted a career-high 12 points to go along with eight rebounds, after chipping in 11 points in Thursday’s win. Steinmetz also helped to get the Lakers’ off to another quick start and scored five points in the opening 4 minutes and 45 seconds of play.

“Jill is playing really aggressively, rebounding the ball well and finishing plays,” Burgess said. “I’m proud of how she has progressed here and we need her to continue to take what the team is giving her.”

Up 9-4 early, Northwood responded with a 9-4 run of its own during another five-minute span to tie the game at 13-13. Crandall then drained consecutive 3-pointers to kick start a 10-4 run for the Lakers and to propel GVSU to a 33-26 lead at half.

GVSU shot 41 percent and held Northwood to just 29 percent from the field for the first 20 minutes of regulation. In the second half, the Lakers went 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from the free-throw line. Northwood shot 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) from the line.

“Our momentum definitely changed in the second half,” Burgess said. “We did a great job of penetrating and preventing penetration in the first half, but didn’t do that nearly enough in the second half. Ironically, Northwood did and that ended up being the difference.”

Through the first 10 minutes of the second half, Northwood got off to a 23-8 run. The Lakers trailed by five or more points for the duration of the game.

“This was probably one of the hardest games that we’ve played, effort wise, all season,” Crandall said. “We were all over the place, had hustle plays, played together, especially in the first, and did the little things we always talk about. They made a run to start the second half and that’s how the game was won — we just didn’t have a long enough answer to that big run.

“It is a little disheartening and upsetting to lose even though we played a good game, but we have to realize how hard we played and focus on the improvements that we have made. The people that we needed to step up, stepped up in the last two games.”

GVSU (9-7, 7-5 GLIAC) will play next Thursday on the road against a Saginaw Valley State University (8-7, 6-6 GLIAC) team that just defeated Michigan Tech (12-4, 10-2 GLIAC) at Michigan Tech 71-68 with a buzzer-beater. The Lakers will then return home for four straight home games.

With eyes towards the GLIAC Tournament, the Lakers will have to be ready to respond again, regardless of the uniform, the starting five, the leading scorer, or the location of the game.

“We just have to continue to grind it out,” Burgess said. “Saginaw is always tough, but they’re a strong penetrating team, something we’ve had some struggles with, and are coming off a big win. It will be another challenge for us, as we continue to hunt for consistency.”

Abstract
The Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team trotted out its fifth different lineup of the season during a 74-67 victory over Lake Superior State University on Thursday.

It was GVSU’s’ first home game in two weeks. It was the first win in its last four games. It was a game that was highlighted by retro uniforms unveiled for a “Throwback Thursday” promotion, and characterized by a team — not just a starting five — that wore them.



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