GVSU women's basketball wins scrimmage against Olivet, expects successful season
After their previous loss in an exhibition matchup against the University of Michigan Wolverines, the Grand Valley State women's basketball team bounced back beautifully in their scrimmage win over Olivet College Sunday, Nov. 5. The Lakers beat the Comets 106-19.
GVSU got off to a solid start in the contest from the scoring and hustle of their starters. Junior guard Natalie Koenig and redshirt sophomore guard Victoria Hedemark dominated on the boards and on the offensive side of the court all game. That constant hustle caused GVSU to start the game on a 17-0 run, setting the tone from the get-go.
Lakers' head coach Mike Williams was impressed with his team’s improvements from Thursday’s exhibition loss, focusing on how the Lakers were improving on all the little things.
“Our decision-making offensively was much better,” Williams said. “And defensively, we did a great job of keeping in front of Olivet’s players.”
That defensive improvement is ultimately what won GVSU the game, as their smothering defense never allowed Olivet to get into any sort of rhythm offensively. The stifling defensive coverage from the Lakers allowed them to enter the second quarter with a 23-1 lead.
The second quarter was more of the same, as GVSU's all-around effort exceeded the Comets'. The Lakers continued to dominate, getting multiple steals on defense and lots of second-chance opportunities, thanks to the offensive rebounding of centers Korynn Hincka and Cassidy Boensch.
As for the offensive side, the guard play from GVSU shined through in the throttling. The great shooting and solid facilitation from Koenig allowed the Laker offense to hit an offensive stride all game, hitting almost every open shot they took.
When the starters weren’t on the floor, Williams was impressed with the play of freshman guards Emma Wright and Mackenzie Harbort.
“Our backup guards really played well in today’s game,” Williams said. “They didn’t get as much of chance to play against Michigan last week, but they did well in their decision-making today.”
GVSU entered the second half of the game with a 59-13 lead and proceeded to coast through the third period. The Lakers started the half on a five-minute 19-2 run, including four uncontested three-pointers in a row for GVSU.
Despite the continued dominance, Williams was not satisfied with how his team played in the second half, as they appeared to take their foot off the gas pedal.
“We can’t relax at any point in these games,” Williams said. “We need to stay focused for the entirety of the game.”
GVSU did a much better job of staying focused in the fourth quarter. They continued to dominate every facet of the game, collecting second-chance buckets at will and getting easy layups whenever they wanted to.
A 26-2 fourth quarter led the Lakers to a win in which they scored more than 100 points and held Olivet to single digits every quarter.
Simply put, GVSU's defense found success shutting down the Olivet offensive attack all game long. GVSU will need to continue this recent domination on all facets in order to get their season started off on the right foot. Williams said the season's expectations depend on the players and how much they want to win.
“Our fate this season is up to our kids, and they’re starting to understand it,” Williams said. “If they continue to want it, we got a chance (of contending).”
GVSU will get the season started with a weekend road trip to St. Louis. They face off against Maryville College Friday, Nov. 10, and then travel to the University of Missouri-St. Louis Saturday, Nov. 11, for a matchup with the Tritons. Friday’s tipoff is at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s tipoff is at 5 p.m.