By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team defeated Muskegon Community College Wednesday, 49-47, in a game that came down to the final 10 seconds.
Despite shining individual performances, team defense was the key to the Raiders’ win as they racked up 12 blocks and 11 steals as a team.
“I just can’t say enough about team defense,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “We put in a couple of Muskegon specific things, based on what they do and what they are really good at, and our kids bought in. That’s all them, they did amazing.”
Freshman guard Marlene Bussler led the Raider offense, getting the team into their sets and scoring 12, including a nasty euro-step layup midway through the third quarter, and three free throws in the final minute to seal the game. Freshman forward Grace Lodes filled up the box score in her return to game action, after missing games due to COVID-19 protocols. She tallied 12 points, 12 rebounds, and eight of those blocks while anchoring the Raider defense.
“That kid (Lodes), she works her butt off,” Glazier said. “Just solid… She really knows the game well, and that lends well to what she’s trying to do out there.”
The Raiders spent the first quarter pacing the Jayhawks’ offense. Until late in the quarter when freshman guard Emersyn Koepke nailed a 3-pointer to start a GRCC run that would last through the half where they would find themselves up 31-21.
GRCC struggled to hit shots during the third quarter, scoring only six points but holding their opponents to 11.
Despite being down most of the game, the Jayhawks continued to play hard, and eventually it paid off. With five minutes to go and down nine points, they forced four (non-consecutive) Raider turnovers and pulled themselves back to within striking distance by the final minute of the game.
Muskegon leading scorer Mariah Pringle (16 pts, six blocks) buried an open 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go, tying the game at 46. However, a mental mistake turned into an intentional foul, sending the Raiders to the line for free throws instead of having to make a shot against the defense. Bussler would hit 3 out of 4 free throws during the last 10 seconds of the game to lock in the win for the home team.
Despite a tough start to their season, losing their first three games, the Raiders have won six of their last eight. This conference victory brings the Raiders to 7-7 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
GRCC looks to notch another conference win as they visit Kalamazoo Valley Community College Saturday, Jan. 22 at 1 p.m.