by Alan Hoskins
Vaulting past Highland into No. 7 in the latest NJCAA Division II rankings. Kansas City Kansas Community College’s surging Lady Blue Devils responded with one of their performances of the season with an 89-39 win over Neosho County Saturday.
The win sets up the longest road swing of the season starting Wednesday at Fort Scott at 6 p.m. Then it’s on to No. 1 Johnson County (21-0) Saturday at 2 p.m. for the Division II game of the year to date and then on to Labette Feb. 4 before returning home against Fort Scott Feb. 7.
The Blue Devils got off to their best start of the conference season against Neosho. By the time the Lady Panthers scored six minutes into the game.
KCKCC had an 18-0 lead and by the eight minute mark it was 25-3 and coach Valerie Stambersky was able to bring in her entire second unit, which expanded the lead to 32-9.
“It was very refreshing to play the way we can and do what we do as well as we did,” Stambersky said. “We really wanted to focus on our pressure defense and transition offense.”
Of which the Blue Devils did well, forcing 28 turnovers with 24 steals and converting several fast break opportunities while shooting 51.6 percent the first half.
The Blue Devils also got 32 points off the bench including 14 by Sierra Roberts, who had three 3-pointers, and 10 points from Rashaun Casey. Eleven Blue Devils had rebounds, 10 scored and 10 had steals in the well balanced effort.
Cierra Gaines led all scorers with 19 points while Cassidy Harbert added 13, Janai Mitchell 10 and Cheyenne North 9. Mitchell and Erin Anderson led rebounding with seven each while Harbert led in assists with five. Harbert and Anderson also had four steals each.
“Janai Mitchell played well and it’s good to see Rashaun Casey come on the last couple of games,” Stambersky said.
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.