History was made last Saturday at Darby Gymnasium as the women’s basketball team beat Beloit College 82-78. With a team leading 21 points in the victory, Alissa Hirsh ’16 eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for her collegiate career. She is just the eight player in Grinnell’s 167-year history to reach the milestone.
Head coach Dana Harrold was quick to compliment Hirsh’s effort.
“Alissa is a special player. Scoring 1000 points is no easy task at the college level and she has put in a lot of work to earn that. She will finish as one of the best players in our program,” Harrold wrote in an email to The S&B.
Hirsh’s teammate and fellow senior Anne Boldt ’16 echoed Harrold’s comments.
“It’s really cool to see someone that I’ve played with and someone who is also one of my good friends excel so much in the past four years,” Boldt said.
While Hirsh’s heroics were the main story in the victory against Beloit, Hirsh was hardly the only contributor. Boldt co-led the team with 21 points while Alex Neckopulos ’17 led the team with eight rebounds. Kayla Morrissey ’18 and Sophia Gatton ’17 each scored double-digit points with 15 and 11 respectively.
While the win was fun, it did mean that the women of the basketball team had to stay on campus over Thanksgiving break. This may seem like a bummer for most students, but Boldt was just happy that, “this year we didn’t have practice on Thanksgiving. Last year we did.”
As well as the Pioneers have played so far, Harrold still sees room for improvement. Despite the excellent record, Harrold believes, “We have a long ways to go to be where we want to be.” Specifically, Harrold wants the team to get better at executing defensive schemes and rebounding.
The hot start to the season has the Pioneers hoping to go where the team has never gone before. Since it entered the Midwest Conference, the women’s basketball team has never made the Conference tournament. Boldt said that this could change this year.
“That definitely is something that is on our radar, and we have a lot of potential to meet that goal,” Boldt said.
To qualify for the Conference tournament, Grinnell will have to be one of the top four teams in the eleven-team Midwest Conference. Harrold agrees that this is a worthwhile goal to strive for, but did not shy away from the difficulty of such a task.
“Realistic expectations for us for this season are to play at a high level throughout the season, have a winning record at home and compete hard for one of the top four spots in the league. It will not be an easy road, but we are ready and hungry for that challenge,” Harrold wrote.
On Wednesday, the Pioneers looked to keep the taste of victory in their mouths when they took on Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Leading by 11 points after the third period, things were looking up for the women but Cornell showed that they also had an affinity for winning, outscoring the Pioneers 22-4 in the fourth period to earn a 52-45 victory. Despite the loss, Hirsh continued to impress, scoring a team high 17 points while Neckopulos continued to impress defensively, coming up with 12 rebounds.
Basketball fans do not need to wait long to see the women in action again. Grinnell will host St. Norbert College at 3 p.m. on Saturday for another round of Conference play.