Split beginning of season has women’s basketball team ready to “do whatever it takes to win”

Written By Luke Mongelli

The  women’s basketball team split the first two games of the season. They lost against Bryant & Stratton Buffalo in the season opener on Sunday, Nov. 8 and won against Bryant & Stratton Rochester on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the first home game of the season. 

In the first game of the season away at Bryant & Stratton Buffalo, the Pioneers fell 92-83 trailing most of the game, despite impressive efforts from the starters and adjustments after halftime.

“Coming into the locker room at the half, obviously, we were a little frustrated we were down, but we rallied together and tried to come up with a new game plan,” Taylor Rinn, starting sophomore guard and forward, said. “Everyone was super excited about it being our first game, so we tried to keep a positive attitude even though we were down.”

Rinn put up a double-double shooting 10 of 17 from the field and gathered 12 rebounds. 

“Coach Grenek wanted us to come out in the third quarter with more energy and the thought that it was a new game with the score at 0-0,” Rinn said. “Although we didn’t pull out the win, I thought that in the second half we played better as a team and implemented Coach Grenek’s new game plan well.” 

Sophomore guard and forward Sierra Seneta thought that despite the loss, this was a good teaching point for the team given the circumstances of an altered season.

“It was tough to lose our first game. We were really hoping to pull out a win,” Seneta said. “It has been different adjusting this season due to the COVID restrictions. We weren’t able to have any scrimmages before the season so this first game was kind of a trial run for the team…we did some good things and we have some things we know we need to work on.”

Seneta shot two of seven from the field totaling five points and grabbed five defensive rebounds.

“As a team, we need to have a better shot selection, rebound offensively and defensively more, have less turnovers, and not give up as many second-shot opportunities,” Seneta said. “I think as a team we can improve on all of these things, and I think we’ve even improved a lot within the last week of practice when focusing on fixing these mistakes.”

The Pioneers had a chance at redemption on Sunday, Nov. 16 versus Bryant & Stratton Rochester in their first home game of the season and were able to secure the win in overtime 94-91.

“A lot of my teammates really stepped up and made big-time plays for us,” said senior guard Michelle Burns. “I thought we played well offensively, especially with the clutch three-pointers by both Taylor Kirschner and Lexi Petit towards the end of the game.”

Burns finished the game with 24 points, shooting eight of 24, and with seven assists to help lead the team to an overtime victory.  

“The first win of the season feels great,” Burns said. “We really needed a win before conference play and although the score was a little too close, we still pulled it off and it was truly a team effort. We never gave up, even when the game did not seem to be in our favor. We still have a lot to work on, specifically on the defensive end. However, I think we will become much better as we have time to progress and continue practicing,” Burns said.

Seneta also believes that the Pioneers have some things to work on within the coming weeks.

“It feels great to pull out a win especially right before we have a conference game. Hopefully we can ride it out into next weekend,” Seneta said. “As a team, we needed to work harder on defense and rebounding. We moved the ball around better than we did last weekend so I think that is something we have improved on but also something we can still improve on and do even better.”

The Pioneers are in high spirits riding off the win going into their next game on Saturday, Nov. 21 against Indiana University East. 

“Everyone has a great mentality right now and everyone wants to do whatever it takes to win and I think that’s important,” Seneta said.