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MCC women’s basketball having a strong season

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published February 7, 2020

 Macomb Community College freshman and Auburn Hills Avondale graduate Olivia Russell takes a shot earlier this season.

Macomb Community College freshman and Auburn Hills Avondale graduate Olivia Russell takes a shot earlier this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Community College women’s basketball coach Jay Ritchie knew his team was going to be good.

But this good?

At press time, the Monarchs were 22-0 overall and 9-0 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Conference.

The unblemished run has the Monarchs thinking of a National Junior College Athletic Association Division II championship. The tournament runs March 17-21.

“If all goes well for us, stay healthy and get that far, I think I like our chances,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie is in his 11th season with Macomb, and the wins have been coming in bunches in recent years.

“The last seven, eight years, we’ve been really consistent; 20-plus wins every year,” Ritchie said. “Once it starts rolling, our recruiting area has expanded. … Recruiting has gotten a lot larger. So, we’re getting some really good players.”

Sophomore Sami Klink said the current squad is balanced.

“We’re all scorers. There’s no best player. We share the ball. It’s the most incredible team I’ve ever been on,” she said.

From Ritchie’s perspective, one of the attractions for potential recruits is the up-tempo style Macomb plays. At press time, the Monarchs were No. 1 in points per game in the NJCAA with an average of 99.6 per contest.

“We’re starting to recruit a certain style of player — long, athletic, to play up and down,” Ritchie said. “When you play up-tempo, you have to have numbers, and you have to have some athletic ability.”

A high-powered offense isn’t the only appeal of playing for Macomb.

In the NJCAA, players have two seasons of eligibility. However, those who have the interest and talent to play beyond that can get opportunities elsewhere, such as at colleges and universities affiliated with the NCAA and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Being part of the NJCAA can help players prove what they have to offer, both athletically and academically.

“I think the main thing we sell is that after two years they’re going to have multiple offers to go play at other schools,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie also noted that the next level will often offer more financially than if the player had come right out of high school, because the junior college player has already proved themselves on and off the court in a college setting.

Ritchie — along with assistant coaches Steve Lemm, Shannon Valicevic, Jim Rogers and Al Poynter — has the Monarchs getting noticed outside of Macomb County.

“We’re getting more quality athletes and basketball players in, and we’re starting to recruit the whole state,” Ritchie said. “We’re starting to recruit a little bit in Ohio, even though we’re a local junior college. Lot of those kids are showing some promise that they’d like to come here because of our past performance.”

 


Meet the Monarchs

The Macomb Community College women’s basketball team has over 20 wins this season. In two of the last three seasons, the Monarchs have earned a spot at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Women’s Basketball Championship.

The following are the players who make up this season’s roster, and the high schools they attended.

• Alicia Norman, Detroit Martin Luther King
• Caitlin Rawlins, Armada High
• Rizaria Franklin, Walled Lake Central
• Alicia Bullaro, St. Clair Shores Lakeview
• Faith Terry, St. Clair Shores South Lake
• Sami Klink, Port Huron Northern
• Emily Swiercz, Carleton Airport
• Olivia Russell, Auburn Hills Avondale
• Britta Romisch, Bloomfield Christian School
• Demi Rodriguez, Dearborn Heights Crestwood
• Maryam Hashim, Bloomfield Hills High
• Jessica Adams, Royal Oak High
• Lauren Wynn, St. Clair Shores Lakeview