The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team prevailed over Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Feb. 26 in a 79-70 win. The Raiders won the previous match 82-46 on the road, which has contributed to winning the season series 2-0.
Sophomore guard Rayven Mondy came out hot to start the first six minutes of the first quarter, with an early 12 points and flashy step-back jumper. Mondy contributed 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to the Raiders win and commented on the the team securing a playoff berth (fourth place in conference) in the NJCAA Region tournament that begins Mar. 3.
“It all starts with practice like I’ve been saying from the beginning,” said Mondy. “I think if we continue practicing well we’re going to continue being successful and doing our thing.”
Sophomore forward Bethany Chick (19 points, nine rebounds) also commented on what the team hopes to accomplish during the playoffs.
“Playing together and working hard,” said Chick. “Staying together through the run is what we need.”
The Cougars’ Sunshine Johnson started to dominate as the second quarter began – using her athleticism to drop 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals. As the third quarter came to an end, the Raiders built a dominating 18-point lead and seemed to have the win secured early. Still maintaining a 15-point lead with under six minutes left in regular time, the Raiders’ defense began to crumble.
Not only was Johnson a catalyst, but the Cougars’ Grace Meacham (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Layna Steele (13 points, eight rebounds) also contributed to the offensive run late in the fourth. The Raiders called a timeout after allowing the Cougars to come within 64-61 on a 12-1 offensive run. With seven seconds left in regular time, Steele came out of the timeout with composure. As she passed the half court line, Steele walked up to the three-point line with confidence and sunk the game-tying three. The Raiders missed their go-ahead shot attempt for the win which brought the game to overtime.
The Raiders held on in overtime, controlling the pace and receiving contributions from sophomore forward Kendall Griffieon (eight points, six blocks, 10 rebounds) and freshman forward Danille Lamancusa (15 points, 8 rebounds). Griffieon finished the season leading the nation with the most blocks (164). The Raiders reconfigured their defensive focus, sunk clutch free-throws, and finished the game with a win.
Raiders’ Head Coach Dave Glazier spoke on the team’s efforts and what the focus is for the playoffs.
“Continue to play with energy, effort, and confidence,” said Glazier. “We had some moments tonight where we could see our confidence leave – not to discredit the Kalamazoo Valley they have a great program.”
Glazier also said, “We told our kids coming in to be ready to come and fight…credit to them, they found a way.”
The Raiders finished the season 14-15 overall (12-6 in conference) and will play against Kellogg Community College in their first game of the NJCAA Region tournament. The game will be on Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Ford Fieldhouse. The men’s team will also be playing their first game at 7:30 p.m. Admission for the public is $8 and free for any individual with a GRCC student I.D.