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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Women’s basketball continues to impress

Lydia+Stariha+%E2%80%9917%2C++No.++20%2C+goes+up+for+a+basket+on+Wednesday%E2%80%99s+game+against+Monmouth+College+in+which+Grinnell+won+73-58.+%0APhoto+by+Leinaala+Voss
Lydia Stariha ’17, No. 20, goes up for a basket on Wednesday’s game against Monmouth College in which Grinnell won 73-58. Photo by Leina’ala Voss

Sam Curry

currysam@grinnell.edu

Lydia Stariha ’17, No. 20, goes up for a basket on Wednesday’s game against Monmouth College in which Grinnell won 73-58. Photo by Leina'ala Voss
Lydia Stariha ’17, No. 20, goes up for a basket on Wednesday’s game against Monmouth College in which Grinnell won 73-58.
Photo by Leina’ala Voss

While most Grinnellians spent their break watching Netflix and chilling, the women’s basketball team continued its successful 2015-16 campaign with a 7-2 record over winter break. With blowout wins and thrilling last-second victories, the Pioneers solidified a third place spot in the Midwestern Conference standings. The team’s winter break schedule began on Jan. 29 with an 85-80 victory over Augustana College in the University of Dubuque tournament. In an email to The S&B, head coach Dana Harrold identified the game as the team’s best win from over break.

“Our overtime win … against a good Augustana team was a big one for us since it was our first game back after a ten day break,”  Harrold wrote.

The win was especially impactful as it helped the Pioneers go undefeated on the road in January, a difficult task in college basketball. The team also beat Lawrence University, Ripon College, Lake Forest College, Beloit College and Illinois College in road games over break. Many of these victories were close affairs, with margins of victory in single digits. The Pioneers were also able to capitalize on early leads to produce some convincing victories, such as a 71-51 victory over Illinois College on Jan. 26. Any player or coach will say that all wins are ultimately equal, no matter how ugly, and coach Harrold sees utility in both close and lopsided victories. Close wins, according to Harrold, are affirmations of the team’s experience and resilience.

“Some of the games we have been able to finish this season are games that we saw slip away from us in the past, so being able to come out on top in those close games this season certainly means a lot to us,” Harrold wrote.

Blowout victories, on the other hand, help build the team’s cohesion and confidence, while deepening the team’s rotation.

“When we … win in a dominating fashion, it’s a confidence builder and an opportunity to get some minutes for some of our other players who may not have as big of a role on our team yet,” Harrold wrote.

The most exciting game the team has played recently, however, took place after classes began. On Jan. 30, the team defeated Ripon College at home by a score of 65-63, with a buzzer-beating layup by Alissa Hirsh ’16 propelling the team to victory. Hirsch led the team with 20 points, while Kayla Morrissey ’18 added 13. Alex Neckopulos ’17 registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Grinnell took a 59-58 lead in the fourth quarter due to three consecutive baskets from Morrissey, and the teams traded buckets until they were tied at 63 with 6.8 seconds left, when the Pioneers took a timeout to plan for the last play of the game.

“We took a timeout … drew up a play for Alissa to get to the rim and the team executed it very well. … [B]uzzer beats are certainly magical moments and I am very happy that my team was able to experience that,” Harrold wrote.

In a long season with grueling practices, hours on a bus traveling to road games and shortened breaks, special moments such as this feel immensely rewarding for the team.

“Those types of games are what everyone likes playing sports for,” Hirsch said.

As for the rest of the season, the Pioneers are aiming not only to secure a berth in the Conference tournament but also to excel once they make it there.

“Our goal from the beginning was to make the tournament … we have to play pretty well for the remaining three weeks, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t. And at this point … we want to win the first game of the tournament,” Hirsh said.

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