After starting off the season winless through their first seven games, including two losses earlier during last weekend to conference foes, the Grinnell women’s basketball team captured their first victory of the season on Wednesday night against Knox College.
“This win meant a lot for us, physically, mentally and emotionally,” Guard Jodi Watkins ’09 said. “We had been 0-7 and we worked really hard in practice, this win was a pay off for the hard work that we put in.”
Last weekend, the women’s basketball team traveled to Wisconsin to face off against conference foes Beloit College and Ripon College.
Against Beloit the team jumped out to an early 21-13 lead in the first half thanks to an 18-4 run that began when Brianna Gallo ’11 made one from the charity stripe. The tides turned quickly however, and Beloit countered the Pioneers with a 22-4 run of their own to go into halftime with a 10-point edge.
After going on a 7-2 run Grinnell pulled within five of the Buccaneers in the second half when Mallory Scharf ’11 hit a layup to make 37-32, but that was as close as they got and Beloit captured the victory 59-41.
Against Ripon, the team fell behind early 18-2 and could not recover for the rest of half, as they went into the locker room down 45-25. Though the team played stronger in the second half, the deficit was too large to overcome and they lost 85-52.
Going into Wednesday night’s game against Knox College, the team was optimistic that they could capture their first victory of the season. “Knox is not a very highly ranked team and it was our first home game in a month, those two factors gave us more confidence,” Scharf said. “We’ve been playing on the road in Wisconsin, we were all pumped for the game.”
Though the Pioneers were favored to win the game, the Prairie Fire were the ones who jumped out early, leading by as much as seven in the first half. But the Pioneers began to wash away the Prairie Fire’s momentum as the half closed down, ending the half down by one 32-31. “We try to come out the first five minutes of every half and make a big spurt,” Scharf said. “Because that momentum travels the rest of the game.”
Out of the gates, Jessica Shotts ’10 sank a jumper to put the Pioneers ahead by one, Knox proceeded to tie the game up twice before the Pioneers took command of the game, going on a 12-4 run on their way to 74-70 win. Guard Jodi Watkins ’09 led Grinnell with 13 points and Scharf added in 12 points. Gallo contributed on both ends of the court getting four steals to go along with 11 points and four assists.
“When people are losing they start to blame themselves and each other but we had to stay together as a team,” Scharf said. “On Wednesday that really came out, we had four people in double figures. It was team effort and at the end of the day when you win no one is going to care about individual stats.”
Over winter break, the team will face off against Carroll College and St. Norbert College on Jan 16 and Jan 17 at Darby; feel free to come back early and support the Pioneers.