BY: Da’Jzon Hughes
Everybody knows these times are chaotic, but nobody knows more than the Women’s basketball team here at Adrian college. With Covid-19 still taking a toll on the American population, sports look tremendously different than ever before. Today we see athletes being tested three times a week and teams being split into “pods” or workout groups. New strategies have continuously been implemented to help mitigate the spread within teams. The Women’s basketball team have been splitting players into multiple pods of six or seven players per pod and ran into one of the few worst case scenarios they could have.
As the Lady Bulldogs went through the week of February 15th, in the thick of their conference schedule, they would lose one of their pods riddled with injuries and others in quarantine due to positive test and contact tracing. The bulldogs would have to compete with only seven players. With the Hornets of Kalamazoo College and the Olivet College Comets coming to town, the bulldogs had an uphill battle for the week. The first matchup versus Kalamazoo College made its way into the Merillat Sports and Fitness Center, where both teams would be searching for their first conference win of the season. The Hornets took an early 3-2 lead over the bulldogs with 7:40 to go in the first quarter, this would be their only lead of the game. The Bulldogs found their stride and left the Hornets behind for good.
The bulldogs used a 16-2 run to take the lead in the first quarter. With the shooting woes of Kalamazoo, who shot 29% from the field, 17% from behind the arc, and 43% from the free-throw line the Bulldogs were in full control. They held a 39-21 lead at half and a commanding 62-39 lead heading into the last frame. The Bulldogs were able to come out victorious for their first MIAA conference win with a score of 81-48 over the Hornets behind a couple of big performances.
Seniors Rachel Bucher and Chelsea Palmer led the way, Bucher stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 boards, 3 steals, and a career high 8 assists. Meanwhile Palmer who said “that her senior quote from high school fit this situation, and that it’s always seems impossible until it’s done”, posted her 4th double-double of her final campaign with game highs of 22 points and 11 boards, and 2 blocks for the cherry on top. The supporting cast was extremely helpful in creating a huge rebounding margin that led to the Bulldogs victory. Addison Bergman and Sara Serbantez add 7 and 8 rebounds respectively, with 10 and 11 points as well. Junior Rylee Campbell who nailed 4 threes had 18 points and 7 boards to help with the efforts.
With this win the Bulldogs snapped a 4 game losing streak and their 81 points were the most they had this season. The Bulldogs would use this momentum to roll right into their next home game against the visiting Comets. The same squad of 7 laced up for the game and would go toe-to-toe with Olivet College. The Bulldogs rallied behind another strong performance on the glass and from their two seniors Bucher and Palmer to run away with another double digit victory in the MIAA. Olivet took the lead with the first bucket of the game off a layup, and would surrender the lead to an 11-2 Bulldog run and would never see it again. The Bulldogs who shot a season-best 52% from the field and outrebounded the Comets 48-35 cruised to an easy victory.
They led 17-8 after 1, 31-22 at half, and 57-36 after 3. Rachel Bucher said “The adversity we played through with only 7 active players was the highlight of her last season here at Adrian College. Everyone stepped up when they needed to and made the experience fun, while filling the stat sheet as always with a double-double with 12 points, a game high 14 rebounds, and 5 assists to add on. Chelsea Palmer would lead all scorers going 10-13 from the field for 22 points and 10 boards for her 5th double-double of the season. Campbell, who ignited a 12-2 run to start the 3rd quarter with 2 long range bombs, went 5-9 from behind the arc to add 21 points and 5 assists with her efforts. Lastly, Kaiya Warner posted 9 points, 5 boards, and a career-high 7 assists to help push the Bulldogs to victory. After shooting 57% from behind the arc the Bulldogs lead the MIAA with 92 threes on the year and grab their second conference win with a 78-59 victory over the Olivet College Comets.