by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
If playing at the nation’s only undefeated NJCAA Division II team wasn’t enough, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s young women’s basketball team further compounded their challenge with nearly a turnover a minute.
Ranked No. 3 nationally despite being the lone unbeaten team in Division II, Highland ran its perfect record to 29-0 Wednesday with a 93-56 win over the Lady Blue Devils.
The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 4-5 in Region VI heading into their regular season finale at Labette (6-3) Saturday at 2 p.m. followed by first round playoff action at home next Wednesday against Fort Scott (2-7).
The other first round game is yet to be determined because Johnson County and Labette are deadlocked second (6-3) after splitting their two meetings this season. JCCC defeated Fort Scott 87-54 Wednesday and Labette crushed Hesston 90-45.
Highland took control against KCKCC from the start Wednesday, limiting the Blue Devils to just two first quarter field goals and forcing 11 turnovers in opening a 24-7 lead.
KCKCC had a 14-13 edge in scoring the second period and trailed 37-21 at the half only to have the Lady Scotties land a 31-12 haymaker in the third quarter to double their lead 68-33.
Averaging 102.7 points a game, Highland leads all Division II members in scoring by nearly 10 points a game.
But the Scotties are also No. 1 nationally in defensive average by a bigger margin, allowing only 48.7 points per contest and it was the defense that dictated the win. Fueled by super quick guards at the front of a full-court press, Highland averages 20 steals a game, one of the highest marks in the nation.
Against KCKCC, the Scotties forced 39 turnovers, 22 off steals that were converted into 44 points. As a result, Highland got off 72 shots to just 43 for the Blue Devils and had a 33-26 rebounding edge.
For the game, Highland shot 47.2 percent to 37.2 for KCKCC although the Scotties were guilty of 24 turnovers.
Lillie Moore had 18 points and six rebounds to lead KCKCC. Ashley Daniels added nine points and Caitlyn Stewart and Nija Collier seven each. Mariane De Carvalho led four Scotties in double figures with 21 points.