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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s Basketball wins final game of the season

Kaitlyn Norton ’17 is trapped by multiple Vikings during last Saturday’s game. Photograph by John Brady.

The women’s basketball team snapped its eight-game losing streak last Saturday, Feb. 22 in a 66-50 victory against Lawrence University. Anne Boldt ’16 and Cristal Coleman ’15, each one rebound away from a double-double, led the Pioneers’ strong performance in the final game of the season.

“We couldn’t have ended any better. It was nice to give Abby Jaeger [’14], our senior, a win on her last game,” said head coach Dana Harrold. “It’s great to have positive momentum heading into the next season.”

Boldt scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and in her best game of the year, Coleman scored 11 points, with nine boards and two steals. Jaeger ended her collegiate career on a impressive note, racking up 11 points and three assists.

Kaitlyn Norton ’17 is trapped by multiple Vikings during last Saturday’s game. Photograph by John Brady.
Kaitlyn Norton ’17 is trapped by multiple Vikings during last Saturday’s game. Photograph by John Brady.

The win was the Pioneers’ first victory in the Darby Gymnasium with Harrold at the helm. The team ended the season with a 2-16 record in the Midwest Conference, 3-20 overall. Despite the low conference standing, Harrold was pleased with the team’s progress, especially given the high number of first-year players.

“The season went better than our record shows,” Harrold said. “I learned very quickly—being a new coach and having a young team—that we weren’t going to evaluate our success this year on wins and losses. There are a lot of frustrations that come with losing 20 games, but the work ethic and overall attitude of the team was very positive.”

Boldt, whom Harrold said played like “one of the best players in the conference,” agreed with Harrold’s appraisal.

“I’m looking forward to the next few years,” Boldt said. “This was kind of a transition—we had a new coach, and we graduated seven seniors last year. It was definitely a building year.”

Sophia Gatton ’17, who dished out three assists on Saturday, said that the win will “propel the team” through the off-season.

“We all had a very good opportunity to grow together,” Gatton said. “I think in the future, we’ll be able to use that experience to overcome adversity and be a stronger team.”

The Pioneers suffered a major setback when Alissa Hirsh ’16 suffered an injury on Saturday, Jan. 25, after leading the team in scoring in 10 of the 17 games that she played. But the first-year head coach helped the team focus on making the best of the situation.

“I knew that we would be probably the smallest team in the conference and arguably the youngest team in the conference,” Harrold said. “We worked really hard to control what we could control—our effort and our energy.”

Before becoming Grinnell’s women’s basketball coach, Harrold worked for seven years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Dubuque. She was “itching” for a head-coaching job, so she was very excited to make the two-and-a-half hour trek to Grinnell to take over Grinnell’s women’s basketball program.

“The neat thing about Grinnell is that it’s very different than any school I’ve been around,” Harrold said. “I think it’s great so far. I look forward to building a great program and sticking around for a long time.”

In her first year, Harrold has made a good start—the poor record this season does little to indicate the perseverance and dedication that the Pioneers displayed this season.

“There were a lot of things not on our side this season, but I think we overcame those things the best we could,” Harrold said. “I can’t say enough about the girls. Up until the very last day of practice, they were working just as hard as they did the first day we walked into the gym, and there are a lot of teams out there that would have lost as many games as we did, and that would not have been the case. Once we get back from Spring Break, we’ll hit the gym hard and we’ll start playing open gyms two or three days a week to get ready for next season.”

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