GRINNELL, Iowa – A few nights nights earlier, the Grinnell College women's basketball team rallied twice before falling short against the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.
On Sunday afternoon, the Pioneers weren't to be denied. Falling behind 12-2 out of the gate, the Pioneers roared back to take a 62-56 Midwest Conference win over Illinois College at Darby Gymnasium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak as the Pioneers improved to 2-3 in the league and 4-7 overall. The Lady Blues are now 1-4 in the MWC and 4-7 in all games.
Sasha Thomas '22, who helped ice the game with steady free throw shooting down the stretch, finished with a career-high 18 points to go along with two assists. Tyria Heath '21 added 18 points and six rebounds and Kate Tomczik '12 grabbed 11 rebounds. Hanna Kessel '19 and Daria Guzzo '19 each had career highs for steals with four and three, respectively. As a team, the Pioneers tallied a season-best 12 thefts.
After the Pioneers dug their early hole, they promptly came back as Heath made two baskets, Sofia Ahooja '22 added two free throws and Kessel sank a layup to make it a 12-10 game. Later in the period, right before the buzzer, Aidan Coalson '22 scored on a putback to tie the contest at 14-all.
Illinois College bounced back after that, leading 31-26 at halftime and 46-44 after three quarters. That led to the fourth period, where the Pioneers held an 18-10 scoring edge. Tomczik began with a jumper to tie things at 46-all. After the Lady Blues scored four straight points, the Pioneers came back with a critical 11-point run. Ahooja started things off with a 3-pointer and Heath gave Grinnell a lead it would never relinquish with a layup at the 6:23 mark to make it 51-50. Heath followed with a free throw, Thomas connected on a ball from beyond the arc and Tomczik scored on a layup to make it 57-50 with 1:55 left.
The Lady Blues closed within four a bit after that, but Thomas hit key free throws at the 1:22 mark to make it 59-53. Illinois College charged again, making it 59-56 before Thomas sealed the win with two free throws and Tomczik adding another.
Grinnell is off until Jan. 2 when it plays at Monmouth College. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.