Tuesday, January 9, 2018
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
LEASHJA Grant has found a new home with the Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada where she's having a phenomenal 2017-18 season with the Thunderwolves women's basketball team.
In 12 games played so far this season, Grant is averaging 23.2 points per game, shooting 48.1 per cent from the field and 75.5 per cent from the free throw line. She is also averaging 13.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.
The Thunderwolves' leading scorer and rebounder produced a career high 41 points, including the game's winning two free throws with 22 seconds left on the clock in their 64-62 triumph over the visiting Guelph Gryphons in the Thunderdome on Saturday night.
Grant, a six-foot-2 forward pursuing an honours bachelor in psychology, also pulled down 16 rebounds as she helped the Thunderwolves to improve their record to 8-4, including 7-1 in non-conference play. The performance came after the Thunderwolves won another close encounter 70-68 on Friday night as Grant finished with another game high honors of 22 points and 15 rebounds.
"For some reason, I felt like Mike in the movie," Grant told The Tribune of the 'Like Mike' where lead actor Lil Bow Wow wore a pair of Michael Jordan tennis that made him almost invisible. "For some reason, every shot that I put up, I was able to get a feel.
"It was like I was on fire, so I just continued shooting the ball until coach told me otherwise. I was able to do a mixture of a lot of things that I normally don't do and for some reason in that game, I was able to shine."
In playing a total of 27 minutes, Grant shot 15-for-26 from the field and 11-for-14 from the foul line. She pulled down seven offensive and nine defensive rebounds, stole two balls and blocked a shot. She also turned the ball over five times and had three personal fouls.
That performance enabled Grant to surpass her previous season's best of 28 points on 10-of-20 from the field and 8-for-13 from the foul line in a 80-67 loss to Carleton on November 24. In that game, she also had 15 rebounds, four turnovers and a pair of fouls.
"I'm happy. I'm contended with where I am on the basketball court," she pointed out. "There's still a lot of areas for me to improve in, but performance wise, I'm in the gym every day working on my game, trying to take it to the next level. For right now, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at."
Grant, 23, said for the rest of the season, the goal for the Thunderwolves is to make the playoffs and eventually advance to the national championships.
As for her personal goals, Grant said she would like to continue to lead the OEA in rebounding and scoring and become the Player of the Year.
Grant and the Thunderwolves will be back in action on Friday and Saturday when they host Western in another back-to-back match-up.
Those are two of the 12 games that the Thunderwolves have remaining on their schedule as the regular season will close out on the weekend of February 16-17 against Laurier.
That will be followed by the WBB QUA Playoffs Round 1 on February 21 and the finals on February 24.
Grant previously played for Texas Tech University during the 2015-16 season after she had two stellar seasons for Trinity Valley Cardinals out of Athens, Texas.
The daughter of local basketball coach Trevor Grant had a previous career high of 27 and a school record 31 rebounds in the 2014-15 season for Trinity Valley.
On November 16, 2015, she was named the Big 12 Women's Basketball Player of the Week at Texas Tech where she posted 26 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Niagara as she shot 11-of-12 from the floor.
Grant sat out the 2016-17 season, but she admitted that she feel right at home having made the transition to playing in Canada.
"Performing on and off the court is something that I'm used too," Grant stated. "It's an every day lifestyle tat I'm accustomed. But it's really great to start the year off the way I did.
"I give all praise and glory to God. I want to thank my family and my friends, especially my dad, for never giving up on me. I'm trying to play as hard as I can on and off the court and be able to play at my best."
Once she's done in Canada, Grant said she hope to pursue a professional contract in the Women's National Basketball Association where she would like to play alongside Grand Bahamian Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Suns.
If that doesn't work out, Grand said she would be contended with playing pro ball overseas in Europe and eventually return home to the Bahamas to do some coaching with her father.