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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s basketball sees milestone season end

John Brady
Lydia Stariha ’17 runs alongside a dribbling Alissa Hirsh ’16 on Senior Day last week. Photo byJohn Brady

Sam Catanzaro, Sports Editor

Lydia Stariha ’17 runs alongside a dribbling Alissa Hirsh ’16 on Senior Day last week. Photo byJohn Brady
Lydia Stariha ’17 runs alongside a dribbling Alissa Hirsh ’16 on Senior Day last week. Photo byJohn Brady

The last days of summer, the last drop of beer poured at Block Party and the last song played at Harris are all proof that all good things must come to an end. Last weekend, the women’s basketball team experienced this bittersweet truth for themselves with an 81–61 loss to Cornell College in the first round of the Midwest Conference Tournament, bringing a milestone season to an end.

“We were really optimistic,” said Kayla Morrissey ’18.  “We knew that if we had a good game we would put ourselves in a position to win it. Unfortunately once they got everything going they had all the momentum and that carried them through the game.”

Cornell is a team of great height, giving them excellent blocking skills and the ability to neutralize the offensive drive that was signature of the Pioneers this season.  The women anticipated this and spent hours reviewing videotapes of Cornell to recognize their plays, but in the end, this effort was not enough. After the first half, Cornell was up 49–27 and never looked back. 

“We prepared for what they were going to throw at us,” Morrissey said. “It just seems we could never get beyond the hump of falling behind in the first half.”

For head coach Dana Harrold, despite the hard work shown by the team throughout the game, in the end the loss was disappointing given their high expectations going into the affair.

“I would say overall we are disappointed with how we performed at Conference,” Harrold wrote in an email to the S&B.  “We are very excited that we were able to meet a huge goal of ours and qualify for the tournament, but once that goal was met we obviously wanted more.”

Morrissey netted 12 points in the game, shooting at a 43 percent clip, while Alex Neckopulos ’17 picked up 10 rebounds. The star of the game, however, was Alissa Hirsh ’16, playing the last game of her historic collegiate career. Hirsh led the team with 17 points and, after the game, was named to the All-Midwest Conference Women’s Basketball First Team. She lead the Conference this season with 111 assists, was third in field goal percentage and third in assist/turnover ratio.

“She is hands down the best point guard in the league,” Morrissey said. “She is a really inspiring and motivating leader on and off the court and it’s been an awesome two years playing with her.”

Despite the disappointment the team shared over their performance at Conference, this was just one game in a long season. Taking a step back, Hirsch and Harrold had only positive things to say about the season as a whole.

“There are a lot of great things this team did this season that will help create a higher standard of success for our program,” Harrold wrote.

Morrissey says the team already has their eyes set on next season. While Hirsch, Jordan Matosky ’16 and Anne Boldt ’16 will all be graduating, Morrissey is excited about the prospect of redefining the team in the absence of these key players.

“We can build a real program and a legacy for our time here at Grinnell,” Morrissey said.

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