By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team notched a late comeback win against talented conference foe, Lake Michigan College (11-5), Monday, Jan. 24, 63-61.
Freshman guard Sally Merrill followed up her double-double (20 points and 15 rebounds) Saturday by torching the Red Hawks for 24 points. She consistently drove the lane and made herself at home on the free-throw line, where she shot 14 of 16. Despite early foul trouble, freshman forward Grace Lodes played well down the stretch. Grabbing another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while adding four blocks and a steal on the defensive end.
Both squads played a gritty physical game, pacing each other on offense for much of the first three quarters. Neither team was able to gain any sort of momentum or maintain a lead, and both frequented the free-throw line, shooting 61 in total.
They saved all the excitement for the fourth quarter. The Red Hawks came out and finally hit a pair of the many threes they were taking to establish an eight-point lead with nine minutes to go (51-43), but the Raiders weren’t done yet.
“They responded,” said GRCC head coach David Glazier. “They could’ve hung their heads and given up, but they stayed tough. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Alysia Wesley. She came in and did her part, hit a few big shots for us.”
The freshman guard (Wesley) came off the bench in the fourth, played solid defense and drilled two huge 3-pointers for the Raiders to retake the lead.
Both teams spent a significant amount of the fourth quarter at the free-throw line, where the Raiders would out-shoot their opponent 80% (28-35) to 58% (15-26). The Red Hawks did their best to stay within striking distance, hoisting 3-pointers whenever they had the chance, but shooting just 4 of 22 on the evening.
Ultimately the game was decided at the free throw line, throughout its entirety and in the final seconds. As Merrill went to the line with 15 seconds to go and iced the game, pulling ahead by two.
The Raiders are certainly on the upswing, winning eight of their last 10, and in the midst of a four-game win streak, they find themselves at 9-7 overall, 5-1 in conference play.
GRCC looks to keep the streak alive, Wednesday, Jan. 26, when they face off against conference opponent Ancilla College, at Gordon Hunsberger Arena at 7 p.m.