The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team is firing on all cylinders and picked up their fourth straight win on Friday night against the Glen Oaks Community College Vikings at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.
The Raiders came out firing with freshman forward Rayven Mondy opening the game with a deep three-pointer for the Raiders. After that, five different Raiders scored helping them accumulate a 17-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Raiders had to play with a short bench Friday night. Mady Miller is still out with an ankle injury and sophomore forward Mya Jordan found herself in early foul trouble limiting her to just under three minutes played in the first half.
In the second quarter, the short bench seemed to hamstring the Raiders as they allowed the Vikings to get back within seven points at 25-18. Raiders’ head coach Dave Glazier quickly called a timeout to get his players some rest and try to pick up the energy. Glazier talked about the team’s letdown, but said he wasn’t going to overreact to it.
“We’ve got a group that understands… teams are going to make runs,” Glazier said. “To avoid it, you do everything you possibly can. You just understand that runs happen and this team has been responding to that. Everybody’s made a run on us in these games we’ve been winning, but we’ve just been able to weather the storm and go on one of our own.”
At halftime, the Raiders held a modest 29-20 lead. When the third quarter started, the Raiders’ energy was once again noticeably absent. The Vikings scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter and drew the score to 31-26, forcing Glazier to call a timeout.
Freshman center Kendall Griffioen talked about Glazier’s message during that timeout that seemed to turn the whole game around.
“It was really a pick-me-up,” Griffioen said. “We were losing energy and we needed to get that back. We’re tired, we only have seven players right now but we pushed through it and we did really well.”
Both teams were struggling offensively when the timeout was called, but the Raiders listened to Glazier’s call to arms and went on a massive 30-6 run to finish the third quarter and start the fourth quarter.
Glazier was impressed with his team’s turnaround but not surprised. He wanted them to get back to basics and thinks they did a great job of that.
“We got a little ragged,” Glazier said. “We weren’t being patient, we weren’t setting screens, we weren’t using screens. I think a little of that was probably some tiredness, but back to the status quo, you know that’s what’s been fueling us the last… four games. Just being consistent is what’s fueled us.”
With just under three minutes in the game, the bench got even shorter as Jordan fouled out. But at that point, the game was all but over. The Raiders closed out the game 76-49 to move to 7-6 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference, the first time the team’s been over the .500 mark in the conference this season.
Glazier talked about the run the team has been on in past week and a half and credits the team’s commitment on the defensive end as the spark that has ignited the four-game winning streak.
“Defense. We have not a overly intense plan, but just real basic,” Glazier said. “We understand what each kid on the opposing team is going to do and what we need to do to try to turn them back. Our kids have bought into what we’re doing defensively and it helps when they buy in, and they’ve just executed.”
The Raiders’ defense has indeed been sound during this four-game stretch as no opponent has scored more than 49 points on them.
While defense has undoubtedly been key to GRCC’s recent success, Griffioen pointed to something else that she believes has been a major factor as of late.
“I just feel like we’ve been a lot more… confident in ourselves,” Griffioen said. “Everyone’s playing confident. We trust everyone to go out there and do what they need to do.”
All seven players scored for the Raiders Friday night. Mondy has continued to be a difference maker for the Raiders in her extended minutes. She was the team’s top scorer shooting 7-for-15 from the field for 17 points. Sophomores Hallee Breimayer and Aaliyah Sargent both had big nights scoring 16 and 14 respectively. Griffioen picked up an impressive double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Raiders sit with an overall record of 16-8 and will look to keep their winning ways rolling. They’ll go for their fifth in a row on Monday night, but it won’t be easy. They host the 18th ranked Mid Michigan College Lakers who handed them their worst loss of the season back in January, 82-45. But if the team can stay dedicated to playing solid defense and stick to the basics, they’ve proven they can win.
The game against the Lakers will be Monday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ford Fieldhouse.