by Alan Hoskins
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s unbeaten and nationally ranked women’s basketball team cleared its biggest hurdle yet Friday night, handing previously unbeaten Jefferson College its first setback 92-74.
It was the sixth straight win for the 18th ranked Lady Blue Devils, who are right back in action Saturday against Wentworth Military Academy and College at 4 p.m. Jefferson, which suffered its first loss in six games, will take on Labette at 2 p.m. in the first game of the KCKCC Classic.
While the Blue Devils maintained their 92.3 scoring average in the win, it was the Blue Devil defense and rebound domination that overcame sub-par shooting in the early going. Shooting just 22 percent the first 10 minutes, KCKCC trailed 26-19 against a Jefferson team that started out at a 66.7 percent clip.
“Our 3-2 zone defense really caused some problems,” said KCKCC coach Valerie Stambersky. “It enabled us to get steals and defensive boards which in turn allowed us to get out and run and score in transition.”
From the 26-19 deficit, the Blue Devils exploded for a 44-36 lead by halftime as sophomore Julia Garrard scored nine points off the bench to go along with 12 by Erin Anderson and 9 each by Cheyenne North and Cierra Gaines.
Anderson finished with a double double, 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Cassidy Harbert was close to a second straight triple double with 11 assists, 9 points and 8 rebounds. North led all scorers with 17 points while Gaines added 16, Janai Mitchell and Garrard 9 each and Ky’Ana French 8.
Even more impressive was a 53-29 Blue Devil advantage in rebounding. In addition to Anderson’s 10, Mitchell had 9, Harbert 8, North 7 and Gaines 6.
“It was good for us to face some adversity and figure out how to handle it,” Stambersky said. “The rebounding was especially outstanding against a team that thrives on getting on the offensive boards.”
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director for KCKCC.