By Seth J. Walker
Grand Rapids- The 19th-ranked Lawrence Tech Blue Devils (21-4, 13-3 WHAC) gained a big road win over Aquinas College (14-10, 9-6 WHAC), 64-52 for their season high eighth straight win. The Blue Devils used a very hot start to set the tone early, establishing a 27-13 lead after one quarter. Junior forward Nicole Buckingham drained two early shots, including a three-pointer, on her way to scoring a game-high 16 points. Sophomore guard Hope Dollarhide scored six of her eight points in that quarter as well.
“Hope got some good minutes in the Siena Heights game, and I think her confidence really sparked from that game into tonight, so I think she played really good and was good benefit off the bench for us on both ends of the floor,” Blue Devil head coach Kylene Spiegel said. Dollarhide also had five rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes of play.
Freshman guard Teryn Kline continued her elevated play of late with 14 points and two steals. Sophomore forward Rachel Price clogged the middle with six blocks to go along with six rebounds. Senior guard Hayley Walkowski was the third Blue Devil to reach double figures with 13 points along with six rebounds and a team leading three steals.
Walkowski’s senior season is now closer to the end than to the beginning. Even with a career that includes an NAIA national tournament appearance (and potentially another one this year), a coaching change halfway through her college career and reaching one thousand career points, she hasn’t taken the time to let it sink in that her playing days at LTU will end soon, but will take a moment to reflect on Senior Day, February 10th, against Lourdes.
“When Senior Day comes, I’m going to feel proud because it’s been a long four years, but I wouldn’t trade anything for it, not even the coaching change, not with all the new players coming in,” Walkowski said. “I’ve made some family here, and I’m going to be proud of what I’ve doe and what I can leave, hopefully, behind; but most importantly, I’m really excited for my teammates we’re going to keep going until the very end.”
The Blue Devils should continue their climb up the national poll when the next one is released, currently remaining two games behind eighth-raked Indiana Tech for first place and two ahead of Cornerstone, which will be their final two regular season opponents, on the road. Lawrence Tech is undefeated on the road this season against WHAC opponents. Until then, the Blue Devils will have full week until their next game, at home against Concordia on February 7th.
“We’ll be in the gym,” Buckingham said. “There’s no days off. We might not be playing a game, but we’ll still be in the gym for sure.”