By Caitlin Phelan
The Raiders bounced back from Wednesday night’s tough loss, as they beat Kirtland Community College in convincing fashion, 85-51. The Raider women traveled to Graying on Saturday, Jan. 28 and were in complete control of the game from start to finish. After Saturday’s 34-point win, GRCC moves to 9-6 on the season and 3-2 in conference play.
GRCC controlled the tempo from the jump, leading every second of the game. The Raiders were on fire offensively, after their season-low 35-point performance on Wednesday against Muskegon Community College. Kirtland kept the game close in the first quarter, but GRCC blew the game wide open in the second quarter, scoring 30 points compared to Kirtland’s mere 13 points. After the dominant and high-scoring second quarter, the Raiders never looked back or lost control.
Sophomore guard Sally Merrill led the Raiders in scoring with 20 points, along with five rebounds and two assists. Merill had help from her fellow sophomore guard, Marlene Bussler. Bussler had a dominant game, stuffing the stat sheet with 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Sophomore forward Grade Loades was a key factor for GRCC’s dominance in the post, and one of the main reasons the Raiders scored a whopping 46 points in the paint. Loades scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting from the floor. Loades not only played well on the offensive end, but she also played equally outstanding defense, recording four steals and two blocks.
When Coach David Glazier was asked about Merrill, Loades, and Bussler’s performance, he stated they did a “…really good job of letting the game unfold in front of them.” Glazier said the reason they had such great offensive success was because they “took advantage of the openings Kirtland gave them.”.
Merrill stated, “The bounce back win definitely started in practice. We went hard and battled with each other. We also shot from three a ton better so that definitely boosted our confidence.”
Alyssa Katerberg was a major spark off the bench, going 5-6 from behind the 3-point line. Katerberg helped the Raiders secure their ninth season win by adding an additional 15 points to the Raiders total. “I was excited for Alyssa to have a game like this, she is a really good shooter.” Glazier said.
The Raiders played equally as well on the defensive end against the Firebirds. They forced 26 turnovers and 11 steals, holding the Firebirds to only 51 points. Additionally, the Raiders only allowed Kirtland eight second chance points, and stymied their transition game, only giving up six fast break points. Coach Glazier was very proud of his team’s defensive effort noting that, “…It was a team effort. Players understood their assignments.” He added that “…it was one of our better defensive games overall.”
The Raiders will travel to University Center to face the Delta College Pioneers for their next conference matchup. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Delta College is 10-9 overall and currently sits at 4-1 in the conference.