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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Women’s Basketball climb to 3rd in MWC

By David Kim

The Women’s Basketball team has played with solid defense and a new sense of confidence, and they’ve been winning. The Pioneers have prevailed in seven of their last nine games, and they’re not done yet.

Though the team was projected to finish seventh in the conference before the season started, the squad has proven the critics wrong. They look to compete in the Midwest Conference (MWC) tournament for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

“We have great senior leadership this team,” said Head Coach Kate Gluckman. “Meg Huey [’12] and Ashley Jeannin [’12] have worked hard to create a competitive team atmosphere and to hold their teammates and themselves to a very high standard. On the court our defense has been tremendous and has allowed us to contain teams to well below their average scoring levels.”

Huey extended her double-double streak to five in an 87-67 victory against Knox on Tuesday with 18 points and 13 rebounds, to go along with four assists and four blocks. Just prior to the game, Huey was named to the National Team of the Week.

Michelle Briggs ’13 notched her fourth consecutive double double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and added seven blocked shots. Rebecca DeGroot ’14 scored a game-high 21 points while Toluwaloju Alabi ’13 was one rebound away from a double double with 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Pioneers have won seven of their last nine games to improve their overall record to 10-7 and conference record to 9-4. They currently rank third in the Midwest Conference standing.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air [to win games],” Huey said. “We’re less accepting of losing now. I wouldn’t call it swagger, but we have this new confidence now. We expect to win now instead of hoping to pull an upset.”

“Everyone comes to practice ready to work,” DeGroot said. “We know these next few games are going to make or break our chance of making it to conference so we have to get after it in practice and leave it on the court after.

DeGroot has provided a spark in Grinnell’s scoring attack, leading the team in three of the last five games.

Despite the surge in offensive output, it is the defense that has been putting numbers on the win column. In the past nine games, opponents have averaged just 50 points per game while shooting below 28 percent from the field. Grinnell’s squad averaged almost seven blocks during the same span.

“Our defense is definitely what’s winning the games for us,” Huey said. “We’re getting defensive stops, which lead to good offense. Right now, we’re clicking as a team; we have a lot of people contributing both on offense and defense.”

The squad has played some exciting games that went down to the wire. Margin of loss for the four conferences losses are just 18, with two losses to Carroll, each by two points.

While the Pioneers seem to be well on their way to finishing the season with a winning record for the first time in eight years, they are not looking ahead of themselves. Improvements must be made to reach the Conference tournament, and eventually win the championship.

“We continue to struggle with turning the ball over,” Gluckamn said. “This limits our shot attempts and gives our opponents opportunities for transition offense, which is hard to guard.”

“We need to keep our eyes on the prize, stay in shape, and execute on both defensive and offensive ends,” DeGroot said. “We also need to remember to come out strong the second half because we tend to lose momentum from the first half.”

While the Pioneers have been riding on a great momentum, they also know that the season is not over and they are not in the Conference tournament, yet.

“Nothing is guaranteed until we play our last regular season game and we know for sure that we are in the Conference tournament,” Coach Gluckman said. “We have a number of expectations for this team but instead of setting end-of-season expectations, we like to focus on daily goals and game goals. A team can lose focus if all we think about is the end of the season. We expect to be competitive in every remaining game and when we play to our ability, we will be successful.”

The team will go on the road this weekend to play Ripon on Friday and St. Norbert on Saturday.

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