OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – For the first time in school history, Kansas City Kansas can call itself NJCAA champions as it defeated Illinois Central 81-59 in the Division II Women’s Basketball Championship on Saturday night at the Cavalier Gymnasium.
The Blue Devils (33-3) were powered by a balanced offense that saw five players score in double-figures with Sierra Roberts leading the way with a game-high 16 points. Brooklyn Wagler tallied 15 points while Cheyenne North and Erin Anderson each finished with 14 points. Brie Tauai came off the bench to chip in 11.
Kansas City Kansas shot 46.2 percent from the field and converted on 40 percent of its attempts from 3-point distance. The national champions also controlled the boards as it out rebounded Illinois Central 48-34 with North leading all players with 16 and Wagler finished with 10.
Complementing the strong offense performance the Blue Devils’ defense was nearly as impressive holding Illinois Central (32-5) to 36.5 percent shooting from the floor and 22.7 percent from behind the arc.
Jemia Carpenter and Kierra Weir led the No. 2-seed Cougars with 12 points each. Destiny Ramsey registered 10 points with the bench providing 21 points.
The only time Kansas City Kansas trailed in the game was at the 9:42 mark of the first quarter. After surrendering that first basket of the game, the Blue Devils never looked back as it charged forward with 12-2 run.
After calling a timeout midway through the quarter, Illinois Central tried to narrow the lead with points from Clarisa Martinez, Natora Landers and Hayley Reneau but effort was not enough as the Cougars ended the quarter trailing 21-15.
The Blue Devils kept the momentum into the second and added a stifling defense to the mix as they outscored Illinois Central in the quarter 21-7 with the trio of Anderson, North and Roberts contributing with 14 points in the period.
Despite a better second half from Illinois Central, Kansas City Kansas maintained its advantage for the remainder of the contest, eventually pushing its lead to as much as 24 down the stretch.
Photos courtesy of The Campus Ledger/Johnson County Community College.