Women's Hall Of Fame To Display Jersey Of KCKCC All-American
Cierra Gaines' No. 13 to be on display in 'Ring of Honor' in Knoxville, Tenn.
By ALAN HOSKINS
KCKCC Sports Information Director
The number 13 worn by Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball All-American Cierra Gaines is headed for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
Gaines' jersey will be on display in the Hall of Fame's "Ring of Honor" in recognition of her outstanding play during the 2014-15 season.
"I was shocked," Gaines said learning of the honor. "I started crying and had to leave the library. The first thing I did was call my mother. It's all overwhelming."
"The Ring of Honor is one of our favorite displays at the Hall of Fame and it has become one of our most popular exhibits as well," said Josh Sullivan, Director of Basketball Operations. "Not only does the Ring of Honor provide a colorful backdrop to the Hall of Fame's many archives, it is also our way of recognizing some young basketball players for their achievements in the sport. In doing so, we are fulfilling our mission to 'honor the past, celebrate the present and promote the future' of women's basketball."
Sullivan said more than 100 jerseys are now hanging in the Ring of Honor including high school and college All-Americans from the 2013-14 season. "You can only imagine the caliber of players' jerseys that have once hung in our rafters since the opening of the Hall of Fame in 1999," said Sullivan. "Without a doubt, Cierra Gaines is definitely a part of an elite group and now a part of history."
The Player of the Year in the Region in Division II, Gaines was named to the 10-member NJCAA Division II All-American first team. A 5-7 guard from Glen Carbon, Ill, she's the second Lady Blue Devil in two years to earn Division II All-America honors. Cassidy Harbert, KCKCC's all-time career leader in assists, was named to the All-American Honor Roll as a freshman last year.
A starter in all 32 games, Gaines led the Blue Devils in scoring with a 14.1-point average and in 3-point goals with 51. She was also second in assists (2.5) while averaging 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game in helping lead the Lady Blue Devils to a 28-4 record. Tying the KCKCC record for the second most wins in a single season, the Blue Devils also tied for first in the regular season Division II standings and second in the Jayhawk Conference.
"Probably one of the most talented players to come through the program since I've been here," said KCKCC Coach Valerie Stambersky. In addition to being named Region VI Player of the Year in Division II, Gaines was named to the All-Jayhawk Conference second team/
Success has followed Gaines at every level. In three seasons at Edwardsville High School in Illinois, her teams compiled a 93-9 record and advanced to the super-sectional each year. A starter as a freshman at Merimac Community College in St. Louis, she averaged 12.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in helping Merimac reach the NJCAA national tournament in 2012.
Ranked by the "Girls Basketball Report" as the No. 1 sophomore in the nation at the NJCAA Division II level and the 29th best overall community college player in the nation, Gaines came to KCKCC in the Spring of 2014 with former Edwardsville teammate Erin Anderson. While not eligible, Stambersky credited Gaines and Anderson for helping lay the groundwork for the 2014-15 season.
Kansas City Kansas Community College NJCAA Division II All-American guard Cierra Gaines displays her No. 13 jersey that will be displayed in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)