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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Women’s Basketball Season Preview

With a new head coach and young team consisting of seven first-years, three sophomores, three juniors and only one senior, this season marks for a fresh start for women’s basketball at Grinnell.

Haley Lopez ’17 drives to the hoop against Wartburg College. Photograph by Connie Lee

Head coach Dana Harrold, who previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Dubuque since 2006, has been impressed with the team’s strong work ethic thus far.

“They really do work hard and I appreciate that they’ve done that since the first day they stepped on campus with our pre-season workouts,” Harrold said.

With the only senior on the team, Abby Jaeger, participating in a fall season sport, Anne Boldt ’16 took on a leadership role for most of the pre-season despite it only being her second year on the team.

“I think one of our biggest goals is to work on playing together as a team. It’s hard because we have seven first-years this year, which is almost half our team—getting a flow with them is important,” Boldt said.

According to Lydia Stariha ’17, the overall youth of the team can be considered a strength as well.

“Since we are a younger team, I really see us growing well together. But it really does help having upperclassmen [helping us] transition into the program. I only see the team growing stronger from here,” Stariha said.

With the team’s two tallest players standing at 5’11”, one of the obstacles the team faces is their lack of height. However, Harrold does not consider this an excuse.

“We just have to do some other things well: our defensive pressure has to be on point, we have to shoot the ball well, we have to create plays for each other,” Harrold said. “We’ll have to rebound as a team versus just relying on just one or two tall players.”

And although they lack height, Harrold pinpointed some of the team’s strengths as their speed and defensive pressure.

During the team’s first game on Friday, Nov. 15 versus Central College, the Pioneers lost a close game 80-71 in overtime.  Retrospectively, Coach Harrold believes that something the team could improve on is communication on defense.

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the team took on Wartburg College. Wartburg obtained an early lead, but the Pioneers made a comeback, almost catching up to the opponent and ending the first half trailing 30-37. Ultimately, the team lost the game 53-81 to drop their record to 0-2. Lead scorer, Alissa Hirsh ’16, racked up 18 points while Boldt and Stariha led the team in rebounds with seven and six, respectively.

The women’s basketball team was predicted in the preseason to finish eighth in the 11-team Midwest Conference. However, Harrold and the team still hold the goal of placing in the top four to qualify for the Conference tournament.

“We’re ready to come in as the underdogs, upset some people and do a lot better than anticipated,” Boldt said.

Other than making it to Conference, a huge priority for the team this season is to grow and improve as a unit.

“My hopes for the season are that we get better with every game, that we start to change the mentality of the way we play, raise the level of intensity, and do everything that we can to become a very up-tempo team. Hopefully, we can create an excitement for women’s basketball here at Grinnell,” Harrold said.

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