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GRCC women’s basketball team ready to improve with the help of sophomore leaders

The GRCC Raiders women's basketball team during media day on Fri., Oct. 19 in the GRCC Science Building. (Aaron Stoner/The Collegiate)

The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders women’s basketball team will start this year looking to improve from their finish a season ago.

Last year’s team finished at the .500 mark with a 14-14 record overall, but struggled within the conference winning just six games while suffering 10 losses. The Raiders picked up a win against the Mid Michigan Community College Lakers in the first round of the Region XII District Tournament last season, but lost in the championship round to the Ancilla College Chargers.

Women’s head coach Dave Glazier thinks this team has what it takes to take the next step and highlighted leadership and the right environment being key for the team to have success.

“I think every year you want to build on… the environment that you’re building,” Glazier said. “Whether it’s competitive nature or taking that next step. You know, last year we got to the semis. (We want to) get to the finals, win the finals, go to nationals. Out of our sophomores, I’m looking for leadership… more production. But that being said, a lot of our sophomores coming back were producers for us last year.”

One thing that can be difficult at the junior college level is only having two years to develop players and integrating incoming freshman with the returning sophomores. Something Glazier will be looking for out of his freshman this season is the ability to adapt to the role that they are asked to play with the team.

“At this point, it’s really how do our freshman find their way into their roles,” Glazier said. “But that’s for everybody, it’s how do you play your role? Do you understand your role? And do you understand how your role benefits and builds the culture that we’re trying to build?”

Like the volleyball team and men’s basketball team, the women’s basketball team will begin this season playing their home games off campus due to the ongoing construction at the Ford Fieldhouse. Unlike the volleyball team and men’s basketball team, the women will have to play their home games at Aquinas College. Northview High School, where the men’s team will be playing their home games, doesn’t have the proper markings on the court for the women’s regulations.

Regardless of where they play, Glazier thinks his team will be ready and even thinks this could help his team in the long run.

“We knew it was coming… road games make you better, so it’s a good way to test us early,” Glazier said. “It also gives us a chance to take the girls a couple different places we haven’t been in a while. Challenge-wise, yeah we don’t have that bus ride to kind of gather as a team, but we’ll just address that practice-wise… Sometimes the bus ride can be a distraction, so it might be better that we’re just kind of showing up to a place and playing.”

Sophomore point guard Hallee Breimayer thinks there could be difficulties that face the team when they have to start the season not having a true home court.

“I think (there is a) challenge of not being able to be on the bus and focus together as a team,” Breimayer said. “And then not being able to be at the school ahead of time and warming up you know, and getting the feel of our own gym that we practice in. We don’t practice at Aquinas, so it’s basically going to be like an away game.”

The Raiders won’t have the comforts of their home court at the Ford Fieldhouse until they host the Lansing Community College Stars on Fri., Jan. 11 at 1 p.m.

Breimayer echoed Glazier’s thoughts when it came to the expectations of the season. She’s hopeful that she and other sophomores can step up and show the leadership that is required to be successful.

“I’m hoping to see a lot of us sophomores to lead the team in a positive way,” Breimayer said. “I’m hoping that we can go win the conference you know and go further than we did, because we didn’t do too bad. I’m just hoping that we can build off what we had last year.”

Breimayer discussed what she’s excited to see this year and emphasized the incoming freshman that have caught her eye and believes they will help the team improve from a season ago.

“So we have a few good guards coming in and post players,” Breimayer said. “So all around, I feel like we’re going to be better from last year. Everyone’s bringing up a strong… individual play. Our point guards are all pretty good ball handlers, and they’re all ready to be competitive and aggressive.”

Glazier believes the incoming freshmen can have an impact as well and can help “move the needle culture wise” for the team. Glazier highlighted a competitive culture multiple times because he feels that culture can help give the Raiders a competitive edge.

“We always look to be competitive, we look to play within our culture,” Glazier said. “We’re looking to surpass what we did last year with the understanding that this conference doesn’t get any easier. The teams at the top… they’re not taking the summer off. They’re getting better, they recruit in big kids, you know so we have to do the same… I’m just looking for us to figure out what we are, who we are over the next couple weeks.”

Breimayer would like to see her team improve, but is also expecting more out of herself this season both as a leader and as a player.

“Individually, I’m hoping to be a better leader and focus on getting better at my own game like with the ball handling,” Breimayer said. “As a team, I’m hoping that we can mesh well through our plays and everything. Because, for our first scrimmage we already kind of experienced everyone playing one individual person at a time instead of together.”

The regular season will get underway for the Raiders when they go to the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Invitational November 9-10. The Raiders’ first home game is Fri., Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. when they host the Alpena Community College Lumberjacks at Aquinas College, located at 1700 Fulton St. E in Grand Rapids.