By Kaia Zimmerman
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team opened their season with a home game against Muskegon Community College where they fell in a close game, 57-48.
The Ford Fieldhouse vibe was very different from previous seasons as there were no spectators, everyone was required to wear masks including when playing and all seats were six feet apart on the bench.
After many delays in the season, the team was happy to be back on the court.
“We were all excited,” said women’s basketball head coach David Glazier. “I know the girls were pretty amped up about it, but a tough way to start.”
Sophomore transfer Shonyah Hawkins was the leading scorer for the game, dropping 22 points along with 6 rebounds. She was quick on both offense and defense and got the team back in the game in many instances.
“My teammates got me open,” Hawkins said. “Shoutout to my team because without them I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did.”
The game started off slow for the Raiders as they scored 7 points in the first quarter. Early turnovers and some small mistakes, including three travels, on the offensive end, led to an early lead for the Jayhawks. Although the Raiders were having trouble on the offensive end, they were playing strong, quick defense on the other side.
The slow start had them down nine to start the second quarter, but they seemed to find their stride as the quarter continued. Hawkins had 7 points in the second quarter to help the team, and they continued to be explosive on the defensive end. Even though they got off to a quick start in the second quarter, the Jayhawks had a great end to the first half, putting the Raiders down 28-19 at halftime.
After the half, both teams came out explosive on the offensive end. Especially the Raiders, who continued their aggressive play on both ends of the floor. Big defensive plays by sophomore Danielle Lamancusa and Hawkins were key factors in the team’s success in the third quarter. Sophomore transfer Olivia Koetje also started getting hot on the offensive end where she dropped 13 points in the game. In the third quarter, they outscored the Jayhawks 19-14 to cut the MCC lead to four points going into the final 10 minutes of the game.
Both teams started off quick at the start of the fourth quarter keeping it very close. Koetje went down at the beginning of the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and was helped off the court. At the 8:00 mark, the game was tied. As the fourth quarter went on, the Jayhawks slowly started pulling away, and the Raiders would end up falling short by nine, with a final score of 57-48.
Even with the loss, there were bright spots for the Raiders including their defense. They had a total of 6 blocks and 8 steals as a team. Lamancusa had a big impact on the defensive end, with 9 defensive rebounds and 2 blocks.
“At times, we did really nice things defensively, and at times we did some good things offensively,” Glazier said. “The differing part of this year just made things a little bit off tonight.”
As well as bright spots, Glazier also felt there were places the team needed to improve on. “We can always improve defensively,” Glazier said. “Offensively, we need to learn to be more consistent, and trust each other more.”
GRCC Athletics announced they will have a new partnership with Ferris State University’s College Pharmacy to test GRCC athletes in contact sports for COVID-19 each week during the season to ensure the safety of the coaching staff and players.
“I’m excited that there is continued support and focus on the safety of our kids,” Glazier said.
GRCC women’s basketball will look to bounce back after the loss when they travel to Plymouth, Indiana to face Ancilla College on Tuesday, Feb. 23.