YOUNG LADY BLUE DEVILS OPEN WITH SEVEN STRAIGHT AT HOME
Inexperience may be an early season concern for Kansas City Kansas Community College's young women's basketball team but not for long.
The Lady Blue Devils will play nearly a fourth of their schedule – seven games – in the first 19 days of the season and all are at home.
They'll open Friday, Nov. 1, against North Central and host Ottawa JV on Monday, Nov. 4, before heading into the annual Keith Lindsey Classic Nov. 8-9 when they entertain Benedictine JV on Friday at 6 p.m. and Neosho County on Saturday at 4 p.m. Saint Mary JV, Missouri Valley JV and Allen County also visit before the Blue Devils go on the road to the Ellsworth Classic in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Nov. 22-23.
"I feel we have more talent and more scoring capability this year but now we just have to go out and do it," says Valerie Stambersky, who is in her 15th season as head basketball coach and is the winningest women's coach in KCKCC history. "As the season progresses, we'll have a lot more depth as the freshmen come along and we head into conference play."
With just two returning veterans, Stambersky's biggest concerns are the lack of experience, rebounding and ball-handling. "We have to do a better job of rebounding," says Stambersky, who has only one 6-footer on her 13-player roster. "We're also working on cutting down on turnovers. For young players, it's a tendency but we're focusing on having more pride in every possession."
The two returnees are 5-8 guard Samantha Hurst of Harrisonville, Mo., and 5-11 forward Bailey West of Omaha Burke. Hurst averaged 6.9 points and was second in assists (1.9) in 25 starts while West came off the bench in 28 of 30 games to finish second in rebounding (5.2) and fourth in scoring (6.3). A third sophomore, 5-1 sparkplug guard Jamisha Crawford of Washington, blew out a knee in the second game of the season last year and is now recovering from knee surgery that will keep her sidelined until the second semester.
"We're certainly looking to our sophomores for our leadership," says Stambersky. "We really like Samantha on the wing but she'll also play the point at times while we expect Bailey to build off what she did as a freshman and step up her play this season."
Kalah Jiggets, a 5-6 freshman from Irving, Tex., heads a corps of point guards which may also include 5-6 Cassidy Harbert of Wichita Northwest and 5-9 Makayla Loggins of Wichita, both of whom are strong candidates at shooting guard along with 5-7 Rashaun Casey of Bentonville, Ark.; 5-7 Imani White of Omaha Burke; and 5-7 Alyson Weber of Atchison. "Casey is a good 3-point shooter who can attack of the dribble while Imani White is more of a slasher."
West will head up the front court that will also include 6-0 Julia Garrard of Bentonville, 5-9 Iland Shurn of Bishop Miege, 5-10 Janai Mitchell of Salina South and 5-9 Eirenei Alesana of Long Beach, Calif. "Garrard should help right away with her scoring, rebounding and defense; Shurn is a solid post player who can score inside and rebound; ant Mitchell has a good shooting touch," says Stambersky.
With depth at guard, Stambersky would like to press more, especially with the 10-second backcourt rule going into effect this season.
In addition to 18 home games, the move to Division II creates a whole different schedule than in years past. Jayhawk Conference foes are the two favorites, Johnson County and Highland, along with Fort Scott, Brown Mackie and Hesston which means no longer does KCKCC play Cowley, Coffeyville, Independence, Labette and Neosho County.
Shaun Burki, who has experience coaching at Frank Phillips College, Crowder, Iowa Western, Southeastern Iowa and Wabash Valley, has joined the staff as an assistant along with Alicia Roth, who is in her ninth season.
KCKCC Coach Valerie Stambersky (left) will be counting on sophomore veterans (from left) Jamisha Crawford, Samantha Hurst and Bailey West to lead the way when the Lady Blue Devils open the season at home Friday, Dec. 1. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
Kansas City Kansas Community College
2013-14 WOMEN's BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 1 – NORTH CENTRAL, Home, 6 p.m.
Nov. 4 – OTTAWA JV, Home, 6 p.m.
Keith Lindsey Classic
Nov. 8 – Johnson County vs. Neosho County, 2 p.m. ;KCKCC vs. Benedictine JVs, 6 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Johnson County vs. Benedictine JV, Noon; KCKCC vs. Neosho County, 4 p.m.
Nov. 11 – ST. MARY JV, Home, 5.p.m.
Nov. 14 – MISSOURI VALLEY JV, Home, 5 p.m.
Nov. 19 – ALLEN COUNTY, Home, 5 p.m.
Dale Howard Classic (Ellsworth, Iowa)
Nov. 22 – KCKCC vs. North Iowa, 2 p.m.
Nov. 23 – KCKCC vs. Ellsworth, 3 p.m.
Nov. 25 – Wentworth, Away, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 – CENTRAL METHODIST JV, Home, 5 p.m.
Southeast Nebraska Classic (Beatrice)
Dec. 6 – KCKCC vs. Southeast, 6 p.m.
Dec. 7 – KCKCC vs. Central Nebraska, 2 p.m.
Dec. 10 – Cottey College, Away, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4 – COTTEY COLLEGE, Home, 2 p.m.
Jan. 6 – SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA, Home, 5 p.m.
Jan. 11 – Allen County, Away, 6 p.m.
Jan. 13 – WENTWORTH, Home, 5 p.m.
Jan. 16 – WESTMINSTER, Home, 5 p.m.
Jan. 20 – BENEDICTINE JV, Home, 6 p.m.
Jan. 22 – Johnson County*, Away, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 – Highland*, Away, 1 p.m.
Jan. 29 – BROWN MACKIE*, Home, 5 p.m.
Feb. 1 – HESSTON*, Home, 2 p.m.
Feb. 5 – Fort Scott*, Away, 6 p.m.
Feb. 12 – JOHNSON COUNTY*, Home, 5 p.m.
Feb. 15 – HIGHLAND*, Home, 2 p.m.
Feb. 19 – Brown Mackie*, Away, 5 p.m.
Feb. 22 – Hesston*, Away, 6 p.m.
Feb. 26 – FORT SCOTT*, Home, 5 p.m.
March 1, 4 & 8 - Region VI playoffs, TBA.