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The Scarlet & Black

Senior Shotts stands alone

By Marcus Eagan

For the Grinnell Women’s Basketball team, in past years, the final home game of the season is known as “Senior Day,” and is meant to recognize the career accomplishments of the outgoing senior athletes. This year’s Senior Day was against Monmouth last Saturday, the team’s season finale and the lone senior in the spotlight was Jess Shotts ’10.

“I just think she is an incredible leader, incredible basketball player and…the girl can shoot the ball,” Michelle Briggs ’13 said.

Although the team lost their final away game of the 2009-2010 season against Knox last Thursday and despite their final record of 5-18 (3-13 in MWC), members of the team remain optimistic about the future. They also know Jess Shotts, the leading-scorer and team captain, will be missed.

“To characterize this [season’s] team, even though we don’t have a lot of wins, I still think it has been a pretty successful year,” Shotts said. “We have definitely gotten stronger in the weight room, we’ve played better on defense, and we can stay in close games—we would get blown out by 20 points last year.”

Head Coach Kate Gluckman, while acknowledging that the team could have won more games, also reiterated a central reason why the members of the Women’s Basketball team participates in college basketball.

“I had fun with [the team] this year, and they had fun with each other,” Gluckman said. “I also liked being in close games, and we didn’t win some of those, but being there, that’s exciting, that’s fun, that’s why we play.”

Shotts even impressed student-athletes on other teams, and set an example for other teams’ leaders. Ross Preston ’10, for example, the captain of the men’s squad had something to say of Shotts’ contributions, citing her tenacity.

“The thing I loved about watching Shotts play was that she always wanted in on the action,” Preston said.

The coach described the season as “The Tale of a Lot of First-Years,” and the “Lone Senior.”

“[Shotts] played like I wanted her to play, while [the first years] got the experience I wanted them to get,” Gluckman said. “It was sort of like a changing of the guards…and that’s not to say that our juniors and sophomores were not there because they were.”

Looking ahead, Coach Gluckman said that she was excited about Jessica Vaverka ’11 (Center), who earned a starting point near the season’s conclusion, Mallory Scharf ’11 (Forward) and Brianna Gallo ’11, who will start at point guard for the Pioneers next season.

“I think that this year was a learning year and definitely a ‘building year,’ but it was also exciting.” Gluckman said. “It was sort of the first step towards where we’re going, with my first incoming class of recruits being here.”

This year’s team actually won one more game than last year’s team, and won tough conference contests against Ripon, Beloit and Knox Colleges. Shotts finished her Grinnell career strong, recording her first career double-double—when a player achieves a double-digit count in two statistical categories—against Illinois College this season. Shotts shot 34.6 percent from the arc, grabbed 4.1 rebounds per game, averaged 14.1 points a game and served as team captain through the year. Many of her contributions to the Pioneers, though, cannot be measured by statistics.

“As captain, Jess Shotts made my transition [from my high school team] to this team so much easier,” Briggs said.

“Shotts is a beast,” Elizabeth Burnett ’13 said. “She is a good person both on and off the court—she’s a leader, and her bubbling personality that overwhelms everyone on the team.”

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