Going out with a bang: Cassidy Boensch leads GVSU in final regular-season win against Ferris
Cassidy Boensch leads GVSU in final regular-season win against Ferris
Draw the curtains. Bring up the lights. Open the exits. The 2017-18 women’s basketball regular season has come to a close, and the Grand Valley State Lakers ended it with a bang.
GVSU made the short bus ride up to Big Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday, Feb. 24, to battle the rival Ferris State Bulldogs. When they came back to Allendale, they came with a season series sweep after a 77-64 victory to spoil FSU's Senior Day.
“Ferris is a good team,” said head coach Mike Williams. “We came up here, and I thought we played really well in the second half to beat a really good team. We played good defensively. We’d get to the rim, and I thought we did a couple good things down the stretch. We did a better job in that fourth quarter taking care of the ball. Against a team like Ferris, I thought that was pretty good.
"We made good decisions: when to score it, when to move it in that second half, and I thought defensively with that zone in that fourth quarter. Even before that, I felt we were more active.”
A mere 30 minutes after the FSU men’s team beat GVSU’s squad by double digits, the Bulldogs' women's team opened up the first quarter with a 23-16 lead, leaving many in Wink Arena anticipating an upset. However, the Lakers responded by taking a lead into halftime, extending that advantage ever so slightly in the third quarter and then running away with a 26-15 fourth quarter.
Once again, the unquestioned player of the game was center Cassidy Boensch. Coming off her second GLIAC Player of the Week honor—her third of the season—the sophomore put up a career-high 32 points on 13-16 shooting while hauling in 12 rebounds and blocking six shots. She also went 6-9 on free throws as part of drawing seven-and-one opportunities.
“I just came in knowing we wanted to get a win,” Boensch said. “Coach talked about how much they were going to come for us. Obviously, it’s a big rivalry. They’ve had a good season; they’re a really good team. We knew it was going to be a battle. I was just looking; I was trying to see if they were going to double team me, and I was thinking I was just going to kick the ball out a lot, and it kind of went a different way.”
Additionally, guard Natalie Koenig scored 19 points (with 11 made free throws on 13 attempts) with eight assists, and forward Megan Belke added 11 points.
With the regular season over, the 23-5 (16-4 GLIAC) Lakers will head into the postseason with confidence.
“I thought it was remarkable what our kids did (this season),” Williams said. “Just a new group, basically it was a new group: five new starters, kids playing who had never played before. There’s times that happens, but not that many, and I thought what we did over the last few games after losing Taylor Parmley was impressive by our kids.
"They bounced back, and she’s still been there. She’s just a leader from the sidelines, and I think they keep wanting to do better.”
To kick off conference play, GVSU will host the Northern Michigan Wildcats (14-13, 10-9 GLIAC) in the postseason GLIAC Tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m.