The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team fell 74-50 against Muskegon Community College on March 5 in the NJCAA semi-finals. The Raiders lost the season matchup 0-3 against the Jayhawks – finishing the season 15-16 overall.
From the opening tip-off, the Jayhawks’ defensive presence was felt by the Raiders as they went on to steal the ball 19 times and forcing 29 turnovers. Guard Iyana Brown (17 points, five blocks, four steals) led the team’s energy throughout the game – with help from guard Tierra Williams (10 points, eight rebounds, seven assists), guard Yasmine Colon (18 points, nine rebounds, five steals), and forward Joy Lee (12 points).
The Raiders showed glimpses of a comeback run but lacked confidence from the early minutes of the game. Shooting a low 36.7% overall from the field (26.1% three-point), reaching a game-high two-point lead at the 8:26 mark in the first quarter, and allowing a 52-24 point advantage in the paint by the Jayhawks were a few elements that contributed to the loss. This allowed the Jayhawks to control the flow of the game throughout the most part.
The second half saw the Raiders’ demise as they fell apart on both ends of the floor. Communication between players was lacking, easy passes were thrown away multiple times, and missed easy looks drained the Raiders mentally. The Jayhawks never looked back on their early lead as they continued dominating until the final buzzer.
Freshman forward Danielle Lamancusa (12 points, eight rebounds) led the Raiders’ offense with help from sophomore forward Bethany Chick (10 points, 13 rebounds) and freshman guard Geonna Jeffries (11 points). The Raiders were able to make it past the quarter-finals of the tournament and were the fifth team to be eliminated from the western region.
Looking ahead to next season, Lamancusa shared her thoughts when asked how she plans to continue being a catalyst for the Raiders as a returning player.
“To continue proving who we are means we need to keep working as a team,” she said. “It all starts on defense and we have to be a strong defensive team. Coach is working on adding pieces to our defense to make that happen.”
Preparing for next season, Raiders’ Head Coach Dave Glazier said he’s “continuing to discover what kind of style we can play with. It starts with the kids working. We’ll give them a month or two off and then it’s time to start doing the individual work.”
Sophomores Kendall Griffioen, Elizabeth Palmer, Rayven Mondy, and Chick were huge pillars for the Raiders throughout their time on the team. Chick finished the season leading in points (413), rebounds (347), and double-doubles (17). Griffieon led in blocks (177) and broke the GRCC women’s basketball record for most blocks in a game (15). Palmer first in steals (60) and sixth in points (100). Mondy fourth in both points (284) and rebounds (155). Although no commitments, each Raider will continue their academic and athletic paths.
Muskegon Community College and Mid-Michigan College will face off in the NJCAA women’s district championship on March 7 at 12 p.m. in the Ford Fieldhouse. Admission is $8 to the public (free for any child nine/under) and free for any individual with a GRCC student I.D.
Those who can’t attend may live stream the event via GRCC Sports Network.