During the opening weekend of the 2020-2021 basketball season, SVSU suffered losses in back-to-back games against Grand Valley on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.
In the Jan. 8 season opener, SVSU had an 18-17 lead following the first quarter. Grand Valley was able to outscore the Cardinals in every other quarter, leading to a 66-51 final score.
Sophomore guard Kaitlyn Zarycki played 32 minutes and was able to lead the Cardinals in scoring with 13 points. Zarycki got three rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block in the game.
Junior guard Maddie Maloney was able to score 11 of SVSU’s points along with grabbing seven rebounds and three steals.
Coach Jenny Pruett said she was impressed by her team’s performance.
“I think the players proved to themselves that they are going to be a force in this league,” Pruett said. “To battle the no. 11 team in the country to a one-point margin is a great accomplishment.”
Pruett said she is excited for the depth of her roster this season.
“We have a very talented team this year,” she said. “You won’t see too many games of one or two people scoring 20-30 points and no one else in the point column. We have multiple players who are going to score in double figures every game.”
SVSU’s roster includes eight returning players along with three freshmen.
Pruett said she believes the team’s experience can take them far this season.
“Kaitlyn Zarycki had the honor of Freshman of the Year last year in the GLIAC, and she has only improved on her game,” she said. “Maddie Maloney is a true floor leader who will take us to new heights this year, and Victoria Stafford is a freshman post player from Oregon who has a high ceiling and is very athletic. We have a lot of experience returning on the floor and players who have stepped their game up this year.”
In their second meeting on Jan. 9, SVSU fell short of an upset against Grand Valley. After leading by one point heading into halftime, the Cardinals were unable to finish the game strong.
Grand Valley outscored the Cardinals 15-11 in the third quarter, securing their one-point victory and completing the weekend sweep.
SVSU had two chances in the final two seconds of the game to get a game-winning shot, but it was unable to get a shot off either time.
Zarycki led the Cardinals in points with 12 to go along with her seven rebounds and three assists.
Junior center Kyndall Spiers added eight points of her own, along with eight rebounds, a steal, an assist and a block.
Coach Pruett said she is excited the season was able to finally get going.
“We are so excited to finally start the season,” Pruett said. “We are a little rusty, as we haven’t played since February last year, so we just need to get some games under our belt to get the rust off.”
Pruett said she is not worried the team will continue to fall short this season.
“We had a lot of nerves and some rust we had to get out of our system,” she said. “We will be ready to go … next weekend.” SVSU continued their season on Jan. 16 with a 56-52 win on the road against
SVSU trailed by 10 points going into
halftime but was able to outscore the Wildcats by 14 in the second half to get its first win of the season.
Maloney added five points for SVSU, but also led the team in assists with two and tied for the team lead in steals with two.
Sophomore guard Tyler Scheid led the Cardinals with seven rebounds to go along with her 10 points.
SVSU’s win improved its record to 1-2 on the season with all three games against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opponents.
SVSU continued its season on Jan. 17 with its second game against Northern Michigan. SVSU will play two more road games next weekend against Ashland.
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