ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — If there’s a team that can stop top-ranked Ashland and its 61-game winning streak, it could very well be Grand Valley State University.
The Lakers are coming off a 54-47 victory over Davenport last weekend, bringing their home record to 11-0 this season. It is a point of pride and a statistic that gives them confidence heading into the home showdown with the nation’s top ranked team in Division II.
“We definitely love our home crowd,” said sophomore guard Jenn DeBoer. “The band we have is awesome, just being on our home court brings a lot more energy.”
Head coach Mike Williams echoed the team’s love for playing in GVSU Fieldhouse.
“I think it’s a comfort feeling when you play at home, our players like to play at home,” Williams said. “I’m not so sure we shoot any better. There’s a little more pop in our step when we play at home.”
GVSU will need some pop in its step, as the Eagles are averaging almost 103 points per game through 24 victories this season. Defensively, they’ve allowed just over 60 points per contest.
“They’re in your face, they know they’re good. They play like that, they press, they make it hard for your guys to get across half court,” said senior forward Taylor Parmley. “Offensively they’re just dogs, they work.”
The previous four matchups between Ashland and GVSU have been decided by at least 14 points. That’s not typically a statistic any team would hang its hat on. However, the Lakers were the last team to hold Ashland under 100 points, which happened in their 83-67 defeat on Jan. 11.
“We’re looking at it as we have a chance to play the number one team in the country,” said Williams. “It’s a team we’ve had great battles with. I think our players are excited to compete.”
Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Thursday night. The men’s teams play earlier in the evening, starting the doubleheader at 6 p.m. at GVSU Fieldhouse.
“It’s good basketball, it’s two unbelievable teams,” said Williams. “It will be intense. Hopefully it will be as intense at it has been the last four times we’ve played.”