by Alan Hoskins
Kansas City Kansas Community College landed the first haymaker of the Jayhawk Conference women’s season Saturday and put the end to a couple of lengthy streaks in the process.
A very business-like 76-56 win over Cowley College not only ended the Lady Tigers’ 14-game win streak but ended a string of 30 straight losses to Cowley spanning all the way back to March 1, 1997.
The win was also the first over Cowley for KCKCC coach Valerie Stambersky, who is in her 15th year at the Blue Devil helm, and vaulted the Blue Devils into first place in the Jayhawk Conference at 2-0.
Ranked No. 8 nationally in Division II, KCKCC trails No. 8 Highland (4-0) and No. 1 Johnson County (3-0) in the 7-team Division II standings but is the only 2-0 team in the 10-team Jayhawk Conference.
“We came ready to play,” said Stambersky, whose Blue Devils gained control early and never let up against a Cowley (15-2) team ranked No. 23 in Division II. “We weathered the storm when we had to and made the plays when we needed to.”
Despite sub-par 37.5 shooting percent and nine turnovers, the Blue Devils opened a 33-22 halftime lead by limiting the Tigers to just 8 of 26 shots (.308), forcing 10 turnovers and dominating the rebounding 26-14 including 13 off the offensive boards.
KCKCC also got 34 points off the bench led by Sierra Roberts, a 5-8 freshman guard from Shawnee Mission South, who had her finest performance with 23 points including three three-pointers and 8 of 9 free throws.
“We don’t lose much when we go to our bench,” said Stambersky, who halfway through the first half had all five starters out of the game.
Cheyenne North led KCKCC to a 48-39 rebounding advantage with 13 along with eight points while Cierra Gaines had 17 points; Cassidy Harbert nine points, eight assists and seven steals; and Erin Anderson eight rebounds and four assists. Just 2 of 6 from the foul line in the first half, the Blue Devils were 19 of 27 the second along with 11 of 22 field goals.
The Lady Blue Devils get no time to rest on their laurels, returning to action at Hesston Monday at 6 p.m. and Coffeyville Wednesday before another big home showdown with unbeaten Highland Saturday afternoon.
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director for KCKCC.