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UF women’s basketball team earns big win over GVSU

By BRIAN LESTER

STAFF WRITERTwo consecutive losses could have easily changed the mood of this University of Findlay women’s basketball team.

But rather than hang their heads about a couple of losses in December, the Oilers responded with a statement victory, knocking off Grand Valley State 61-53 Monday night at Croy Gymnasium.

In an intense and physical Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference encounter, UF rose up in the final 3:40 of action, closing on a 15-4 run to secure the win over a GVSU team riding a four-game winning and whose only loss came at the hands of top-ranked Ashland.

“This is a phenomenal win,” UF coach Kate Cummings said. “Grand Valley is one of the biggest and most athletic teams that we will face. I though our defense was top notch. We made a few mistakes here and there, but to be able to blitz jump that team is great.”

Senior forward Tai Dotson started the final run for the Oilers on a night when she stepped up and torched the Lakers for a career-high 19 points.

Dotson scored on a layup to give the Oilers a 50-49 advantage, then added a free throw less than a minute later.

Dotson would go on to convert a 3-point play and hit another free throw as UF (6-2, 4-2 GLIAC) pulled away for the win and wrapped up its conference schedule for the month.

Dotson also grabbed seven rebounds while senior teammate Kayla Brown clicked for 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. The former Riverdale star has scored in double figures in every game this season.

UF shot 40.4 percent (19-of-47) from the field and held a 38-29 edge on the boards. The Oilers dominated in the paint, outscoring the Lakers 34-12.

Only Dotson and Brown were in double figures, but eight other players scored in the win.

“I thought we gave a great team effort across the board,” Cummings said. “Everyone had a positive contribution. Our starters took a good step forward and we got great play off the bench.”

This game was tight throughout, with 10 ties and 10 lead changes. But the Oilers were prepared for the challenge of playing one of the better teams in the conference. They limited the Lakers to 34 percent (18-of-53) shooting and forced 17 turnovers.

Kellie Watson led the Lakers (7-2, 5-2 GLIAC) with 15 points. Briauna Taylor, averaging almost 13 points a game, was held to 10.

“We knew coming into the season that defense was our bread and butter with our press and crazy zone,” Cummings said. “If we play as hard as we can on defense, we always have a chance to win.”

UF’s final game before the Christmas break will be a nonconference matchup at Urbana on Wednesday.

As far as its success in the conference, Cummings can’t complain.

“We are still a young team and in the learning process, but to be 4-2 against North teams is great,” Cummings said. “The North Division is really good. I’m pleased with our progress.”

Grand Valley (7-2, 4-2 gliac)

Watson 5-16 2-2 15, Taylor 2-7 6-6 10, Stelfox 3-8 0-1 6, Kellogg 1-5 2-2 4, Stodola 0-2 0-0 0, LaPraire 2-2 0-0 4, Cripe 1-5 0-0 3, Steinmetz 1-2 2-2 4, Crandall 3-6 0-0 7. TOTALS: 18-53 12-13 53.

findlay (6-2, 4-2 gliac)

Wuebker 1-2 3-4 6, Dotson 7-13 5-9 19, Brown 7-15 1-3 15, Beasley 0-0 2-2 2, Andrews 0-0 2-2 4, Kenny 2-3 0-0 4, Klausing 1-5 0-0 3, Elam 0-3 4-4 4, Kessler 0-1 4-4 4, Grevenkamp 0-2 0-0 0, Lewis 1-2 0-0 2, Kras 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19-47 21-28 61.

3-Point GOALS: Grand Valley 5-20 (Watson 3-9, Cripe 1-3, Crandall 1-3, Kellogg 0-3, Taylor 0-2); Findlay 2-12 (Wuebker 1-1, Klausing 1-3, Brown 0-4, Elam 0-2, Grevenkamp 0-2).

rebounds: Grand Valley 29 (Stelfox & Stodola 5); Findlay 38 (Brown 8, Dotson 7).

ASSISTS: Grand Valley 13 (Stodola 5); Findlay 9 (Brown 4).

STEALS: Grand Valley 13 (Taylor & Stelfox 4); Findlay 8 (Brown 4)

BLOCKS: Grand Valley 1 (Watson); Findlay 0.

TURNOVERS: Grand Valley 17, Findlay 19.

TOTAL FOULS: Grand Valley 22, Findlay 17.

FOULED OUT: None.

HALFTIME: Findlay, 25-22.

Follow me on Twitter @BLester1993 or send me an email at brianlester@thecourier.com.