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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s basketball falls twice in season openers

Kayla Morrissey ’18 scored a game-high 15 points against Central College last Saturday. Photo by Chris Lee.

The women’s basketball team opened up its season with two losses against Central College and Wartburg College this past week.

The Pioneers hosted Central last Saturday full of excitement and anxiety. Knowing the game was the season opener, the team made sure to emphasize all the details at practice prior to the game.

“We always emphasize a sense of urgency and a very high work ethic,” said head coach Dana Harrold. “The girls know they need to compete at a high level in practice in order to be able to compete at an even higher level in the games.”

The team exhibited the exact ethic Harrold stressed in the first half. The team broke away with a 10-0 run from the onset, leaving little room for the opponent to catch up. The first half ultimately ended with a close score of 36-30.

In the second half, intensity level picked up as the game was tied at 50-50 with only 21 seconds left.

“It was very intense,” said Kayla Morrissey ’18. “There was a lot of timeouts. Both teams were on a bonus so that created even more pressure to make free throws … I don’t think we necessarily handled it poorly … It was just an untimely foul that led to them take the lead.”

Kayla Morrissey ’18 scored a game-high 15 points against Central College last Saturday. Photo by Chris Lee.
Kayla Morrissey ’18 scored a game-high 15 points against Central College last Saturday. Photo by Chris Lee.

Central sunk two free throws with four seconds remaining in the game. Miscommunication in the ensuing inbound play resulted in a loss for the Pioneers.

Despite the loss, the players presented a preview of their exceptional play for the rest of the season.

“I think we played decent defense,” Morrissey said. “Our goal was to keep them under 55 or 60 points so we pretty much achieved our defensive goal … But our offense did not produce during the second half. And are shooting percentages were the lowest it’s been. It didn’t demonstrate the work that we had put in during practice … So we just got to keep putting shots up and get our shooting percentage up there so that we can pull out those close games.”

Ending last Saturday on a regretful but hopeful note, the Pioneers travelled to Waverly, Iowa this past Tuesday to play against an even more competitive Wartburg to test their skills.

“Wartburg was a lot more talented than Central,” Morrissey said. “Our main defensive goal was to shut down the post because they had a six-foot girl who was really athletic. But our defense on the perimeter on the guards was lacking as well. And they just [knocked] down shots.”

Although Grinnell managed to hang in with the opponent early in the game, the Pioneers eventually found themselves in a deep hole and the Knights never looked back.

“It seemed like we were going to hang with them the whole game if we kept up our intensity,” Morrissey said. “But we stopped scoring and they kept scoring and they went on runs. We had defensive spurts where we knocked them down for eight stops in a row [but] we couldn’t capitalize on that so we couldn’t score as much as they did.”

As the team looks forward to the next game this Saturday against Conference foe Beloit College, the Pioneers are anxious to show a better play than they did in the last two games.

“The Midwest Conference will provide a constant challenge every night as it’s a tough league for women’s basketball,” Harrold said. “We travel to Beloit on Saturday and we plan to start fast and end fast, so hopefully we are able to get our first victory of the season this weekend on the road.  I think if we play at the level we are capable of and focus on our game plan for each opponent our chances of competing and coming out on top are high.”

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