By Kaia Zimmerman
Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team wins in a close battle to secure the season series against Mid Michigan College, 2-0, on Friday, March 26 with a final score of 62-58.
“It feels great to beat Mid Michigan twice,” said Olivia Koetje, a sophomore guard for the GRCC women’s basketball team. “They are a good, aggressive team and I know after losing to us earlier in the season they were going to come out strong. We all knew it was going to be a challenge, but we pulled it together and got the win. I’m proud of my team.”
The Lakers wanted to lockdown the Raiders leading scorer sophomore Shonyah Hawkins, and they did a nice job of it as she ended with six points, when she is averaging 15 points per game. However, Koetje came up big for the Raiders with a double-double to get the win without a huge scoring performance from Hawkins. Koetje would have 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“(Koetje) sparked us,” said Head Coach David Glazier. “Mid-Michigan threw a defense at us you are not going to see a lot, and they did that to take Hawkins away from us, and they were successful, so we had to work through other people.”
Koetje was a spark plug for GRCC on both ends of the court, hitting three big 3-pointers in the third quarter, and also knocking down crucial free throws to secure the win for the Raiders.
“I’m hungry for a first seed in our conference tournament and we have a good fighting chance,” Koetje said. “Two more regular season games and then it goes to tournament play, so I have to give it everything I got.”
The Raiders had a great start for the game going on an 8-0 run led by sophomore Danielle Lamancusa who had eight points in the quarter and Koetje who had five. Sophomore Jayla Bibbs came into the game ranked fourth in the nation in rebounds per game (14.3), and got off to a quick start on the boards with nine rebounds. The quick start would have the Raiders up, 17-9, at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers had a good start to the second quarter to cut the Raiders lead down to four, 23-19 at the 5:39 mark. The Lakers lockdown defense on Hawkins had a big impact as she had only two points in the quarter. The Raiders would have trouble getting anything going to maintain the lead and would end up losing the lead with about a minute to go before the break. The Lakers would outscore the Raiders 22-12 in the second quarter and would take a 31-29 lead into half.
Coming out of the half, Koetje once again came up big for the Raiders hitting three 3-pointers to give them a small lead in the beginning of the third quarter. Koetje would have 11 points in the quarter to propel the team to a, 42-37, lead halfway through the quarter. The Lakers still were fighting back to keep the game close throughout, but the Raiders would retain the lead, 46-41, going into the fourth.
A great start from the Raiders would give them a nine-point lead early in the quarter, but the Lakers were able to cut the deficit to three with four minutes remaining in the game. MMC would get the game to a one-possession game, but a costly turnover gave the Raiders the ball back as they took a two-possession lead. The Lakers would go down the court and score an important bucket, but after a foul, Koetje hit two important free throws to once again make it a two-possession game and secure the win for the Raiders, 62-58.
In the win, GRCC received contributions from Lamancusa (14 points), sophomore Eurasia Green-Boyd (nine points), Bibbs (nine points), and Hawkins (six points).
The Raiders will look to win against Glen Oaks Community College for the second time this season when they play at the Ford Fieldhouse on Tuesday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. You can watch the game on the GRCC Athletics Youtube Channel.
“It’s a team coming in hungry for a win,” Glazier said. “We have to be ready. We can’t be looking past them to what might lie ahead of us for Thursday. All our focus is going to be on Glen Oaks, and what they do well, and what we think we can take advantage of.”