Since their opening day loss to the tune of a 94-42 blowout at the hands of Grace Christian University, the Muskegon Community College Women’s Basketball Team has been red hot, going 13-1 overall since. On their way to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, after their easy handling of Delta Community College in the Great Lakes District B Championship, Head Coach Jason Cooper was eager to give his thoughts on the team’s performance throughout the season.
“Our performance has been improving each game,” Cooper explained. “We are always learning, each game bringing another unique challenge to our team. I will say this, they have answered each challenge with glowing reviews.”
Leading the conference in total points with 526, the Jayhawks went undefeated in conference play, going 8-0. The teams’ defense has been their most dependable aspect of play, allowing the least opposing field goal percentage in the MCCAA with 27.9 percent to go along with the least three-point percentage with 19.8 percent. The Jayhawks allow the fourth-least points per game with 51.3.
“Due to COVID-19, this season has been different from any other before,” said Cooper. “This team has gone through so much more than the game of basketball. I respect their determination, versatility, and commitment to one another. Whatever was asked, they accepted the challenge.”
Cooper was nominated and won Co-MCCAA Coach of the Year for the 2020-2021 season. He believed the team had experienced a turning point in their play after the rough opener.
“It was actually our second game of the season,” he said. “We just came off a loss in our first game and had to play our rivals [GRCC] on the road. They were picked to win the league. It was a tough game, but we pulled together as a team and won. That was the turning point where they started to believe we could do something special this year.”
Sophomore forward Mariah Pringle was elected Defensive Player of the Year in the MCCAA Western Conference. Pringle currently has 20 blocks, second overall in the MCCAA. Sophomore guard Julia Tierman received Western Conference Honorable Mention by leading the MCCAA in assists with 80. Freshman forward Nia Miskel and Pringle both received First Team All-Western Conference honors.
“I don’t think about my legacy,” Cooper elaborated. “My goal is to make sure these young ladies have the best experience they can have here at MCC. Basketball is a huge part of our lives, but it’s about these student-athletes learning important life skills that will help them navigate this ever-changing world.”
The Jayhawks will face the Parkland College Cobras in Hickory, North Carolina on April 20th at noon to kick off their run for the Division II National Tournament Championship.