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Women’s basketball concludes season in lackluster game cancellation

Sophia+Ahooja+%6022+sets+up+at+the+top+of+the+three-point+line+in+the+Darby+Gymnasium.+Contributed+by+Ted+Schultz.
Cory Hall
Sophia Ahooja `22 sets up at the top of the three-point line in the Darby Gymnasium. Contributed by Ted Schultz.

By Mira Diamond-Berman
diamondb@grinnell.edu

On Saturday, Feb. 19, Grinnell’s women’s basketball team played their last game of the 2021-2022 season against Lake Forest. It was a close game, with Grinnell losing 49-55 it was their last chance to make it into the tournament. Earlier in the season, Grinnell played against Lake Forest for their first conference tournament, in which they lost by one point: 76-77. For the overall season, Grinnell won nine games and lost 13 games. The team expected to play against Illinois College on Sunday, Feb. 20, but the game was canceled.  

Sofia Ahooja `22 and Payton Hall `25 attribute the cancellation of the Illinois College game to their Lake Forest loss. Even if the team beat Illinois College, they still would have not made the tournament. It was determined it was not worth the cost and resources to send the team to an away game at Illinois College. 

“The Illinois game was canceled because since we didn’t win the Saturday game, there was no way for us to make it into the tournament. And I believe it was canceled because our athletic director didn’t want to pay the funds for us to stay a hotel. And for food for us not to make it into the tournament. So I think it was a budget issue,” said Hall.  

 For some players, the last game with Lake Forest was a disappointing end to the season. “It kind of sucks to end this season on a loss. It’s kind of a bummer. But I think we all did our best and did what we could and there were some plays that didn’t go the way we wanted. So it wasn’t a bad loss, but it still sucks,” said Ahooja.  

COVID-19 also made the season particularly difficult for the team. Along with an outbreak on the Grinnell team, other teams also had to constantly move games due to the pandemic. “It was stressful because a lot of our games got canceled or move postponed. But then the teams that were supposed to play also got Covid. So eventually, like the games just kept getting pushed back and pushed back,” said Hall.  

Despite the stress of having to cancel and postpone games, the team made the best of it and it brought them closer together.  “We had to reschedule all of it and it got very hectic. So it was kind of stressful at times. But I think those times also made it fun. And we kind of shared that experience,” said Ahooja. 

This being Ahooja’s last season on the women’s basketball team, she hopes that the team continues its close-knit dynamic. “I hope they keep their family culture for sure. I think that’s the most important part was friendships and bonds you have with everyone afterwards. I think that’s the most important takeaway from this. Because there’s so many alumni that I’m still very close with, and I hope they continue to carry that on,” she said.  

Hall is already thinking about using this family dynamic for the next season. Both hard work and a good team dynamic can hopefully bring them to the tournament next year, she said. 

“Next year I’m just excited to get back to work. I think we have a lot of amazing underclassmen that are soon to be upperclassmen. But then I also just think our team is really bonded like through this first year. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that are really close, which shows like on and off the court like team dynamics really important. I’m excited just to get back to work and work towards making the tournament,” said Hall. 

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