Gronas eyeing NCAA Tournament in final campaign

By Joseph Guzy | Photo Editor - Senior guard Emilie Gronas of Bergen, Norway drives the lane during the Dukes’ 74-62 win over St. Bonaventure Saturday night. The Dukes are 17-2 overall.

By Joseph Guzy | Photo Editor – Senior guard Emilie Gronas of Bergen, Norway drives the lane during the Dukes’ 74-62 win over St. Bonaventure Saturday night. The Dukes are 17-2 overall.

By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke

Nearly 4,000 miles away from her hometown of Bergen, Norway, senior guard Emilie Gronas of the Duquesne women’s basketball team is ready to return home.

“I will definitely turn my focus on home after graduation,” Gronas said. “I have family, friends and a boyfriend that I really miss and have been away from for four years. I get emotional as it is just talking about it.”

A 2014-15 transfer from Cowley Community College, Gronas established her role on the team through playing in each game last season. She completed the season ranking second in the Atlantic 10 with a 3-point shooting percentage of .483, scoring five in one game alone, good for a career-high.

In her second and final season on the Bluff, the senior currently ranks third on the team in 3-pointers made at 1.5 per game. Gronas, a starter this season, averages 25.2 minutes of playing time – a major change from last season alone, in which she averaged only 11 minutes.

Gronas attributes her success to her time in America, specifically Pittsburgh.

“I had a little bit of a culture shock when I came to Duquesne at first,” Gronas said. “I still have stuff to work on. Basketball players always have things to develop. I think that America helped me get better at certain things that I didn’t know I kind of had to get better on.”

The style of the game is much different in the U.S. in comparison to Europe. Gronas explained that American basketball focuses more on physicality, but the fast style of play is similar. Coming to Duquesne, even Gronas’ individual style of play has transitioned from producing offensively to becoming a defensive player.

“Before I came to Duquesne, I used to be a scorer,” Gronas said. “That’s definitely been a big change for me. The best improvement I’ve seen for me individually has been on defense.”

Although she is not the scorer that she once was, she has become a leader for her foreign teammates in particular. Gronas understands the difficulty of being an international player, and serves as a source of guidance on a team that represents six countries total.

“I feel like I can help them more off the court when it comes to being an international player,” Gronas said. “Off the court, we’re away from home. I know how it is coming here and not having your family present. Just being there for them, both on and off the court helps.”

Senior guard April Robinson explained that Gronas especially contributes to the team through her constant support.

“[Gronas] has a great mentality for basketball IQ, and we just kind of always had that connection,” Robinson said. “She’s someone you can lean on, and someone who can pick you up when you’re down. I wouldn’t trade her for anyone else.”

In her last semester of studying international business, and with about a month of A-10 play remaining, Gronas anticipates returning to her family and friends upon graduation this May.

That is of course, after winning the A-10 Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament with her team.

“We are going to keep working hard towards it,” Gronas said. “I’m going to just be there for my team and do whatever I can as an individual player to help us win as many games, because that’s what we need to do in order to get there.”

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