GRCC women’s basketball season ends with second tough loss in NJCAA DII National Tournament

Grand Rapids Community College women's basketball team in a huddle, talking.

Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball’s magical season came to an end at the NJCAA Division II National Basketball Championships on Thursday, losing to No. 10 seeded North Central Missouri College, 78-67.

“Today was a tough loss because our kids fought with everything they had, which is indicative of how they played all year,” head coach David Glazier said. “We played well, just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch.”

Both teams traded buckets for nearly the entire first half, before a late run by North Central gave the Pirates an eight-point lead at the break.

GRCC closed the gap after a 25-point third quarter that included going 11-for-11 from the free throw line.  The team got to within one point, 50-49 in the fourth quarter, but North Central made more plays down the stretch to win and advance in the tournament.

Grace Lodes, who was recently named All-Region and the Conference Defensive Player of the Year, finished her GRCC career on a stellar note, going nine-of-17 from the field for 23 points while adding six rebounds and six blocks.

Conference Player of the Year Sally Merrill finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Second Team All-Conference player Marlene Bussler tallied 10 points and five boards.

GRCC finished the season 19-10 overall and tied for third place in the conference. The team upset its final two opponents in the regional tournament to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament for the second time in three years.

“Any loss is always tough to stomach, but this one that ends a great season was a different level of tough because it signaled the last time any of our seven sophomores will play for the season,” said Glazier, who was named District B Coach of the Year.

“Alyssa Katerberg, Emersyn Koepke, Karissa Ferry, Sally Merill, Allison Kellogg, Marlene Bussler and Grace Lodes have left a tough mark to match on this program. We are forever grateful for their efforts and contributions! It is hard to see them move on.”

This story was reported by Ben Brown. 

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