From coming off the bench her first two seasons to being a key player for the Broncos women’s basketball team the past two years now, Omaha native Gabby Grasso, has played a significant role for Hastings during her four years.
“I wasn’t getting a ton of playing time freshman year until someone got hurt,” Grasso said. “Our group of seniors have been taking charge and coach telling us, ‘you have to step up year after year, you need to do this better, you need to get better in this.’ And after last year, she told us this is our team and to be the leaders now and step up into those roles.”
The 5’-11” forward is not always the tallest player on the court, but Grasso is still a key component averaging 12 points per game and nearly two blocks per game. When Grasso was asked if she thought she would have such an impact on the team, she said no.
“You hope for that and work for that kind of thing, but we had such a big incoming freshman class I didn’t think or didn’t know that I would have that type of impact,” Grasso said.
She has three national rankings in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) DII where she currently ranks 18 in total blocks on the season with 51. Along with that ranking, Grasso also ranks first in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with total blocks, seven above the next person. Grasso has been able to etch her name into the Bronco record book where she is currently tied for fourth on all-time leader for blocks with 132.
“It’s awesome (being in the record books), but if you told me that three years ago, I would’ve said ‘what the heck?’ Blocking is not something that I practice or anything so it is a cool thing to be on,” Grasso said.
Along with Grasso’s success blocking opponents, she only needs 25 points to reach 1,000 career points in a Bronco uniform. She would be the 30th name added to scoring 1,000-plus points club for the HC women’s basketball team.
“I would’ve guessed that I was at 500 points right now, not close to 1,000, so that is awesome. It just shows how everything has been paying off. I haven’t even realized it, but I think it’s really cool,” Grasso said.
When asked about her favorite game here at HC, Grasso referenced the home game earlier this season against Concordia where the Broncos won 66-59, with Grasso scoring 15 points along with four blocks.
“It was the first time we have beaten them (Concordia) since 2015 and playing in front of that crowd at home was an incredible experience,” Grasso said.
HC has one more regular season game tomorrow against Dakota Wesleyan with tip-off at 2 p.m. The Broncos are guaranteed at least one more game for the GPAC quarterfinals, where they will host the first round on Feb. 26, with semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 29 and then the tournament championship on March 3.
“We have been getting back to the basics lately–polishing up fundamentals mainly when it comes down to our offense. It is going to be key when we get this deep into the season and before the conference tournament,” Grasso said.
The Broncos will then look to make a deep run in the NAIA National Championship, which will start on March 11 and 12 in Sioux City, Iowa. The NAIA DII championship bracket will be revealed on March 4.