KCKCC WOMEN BOAST SEVEN VETERANS BACK FROM 29-3 SEASON
Lady Blue Devils start fast with home games Friday, Saturday and Tuesday
Joe McKinstry did not find the cupboard bare when he took the reins as Kansas City Kansas Community College's ninth women's head basketball coach in late August.
Seven veterans return from Valerie Stambersky's final Lady Blue Devil team that compiled a 29-3 record in 2014-15, the second best record in KCKCC history. Beneficiary of a forfeit by Hutchinson, KCKCC's only losses were to Jayhawk Conference champion Coffeyville and twice to NJCAA Division II national champion Johnson County, a team KCKCC defeated on its home court.
"Obviously we have a lot of talent and experience – and versatility," says McKinstry. "We're going to be able to move players around to various positions and with our depth, will be able to play aggressively at both ends of the floor. I call it organized chaos and all 13 of our players will contribute."
Schedule-wise, the Lady Blue Devils explode out of the blocks with five games in the first eight days of the season. The opener comes Friday against Avila JV at 5 p.m. followed by Sterling JV Saturday at 2 p.m. and Central Methodist at 8 p.m. as the second of a volleyball-basketball doubleheader.
Heading the list of returnees are 5-7 Erin Anderson, last season's Most Valuable Player; and 5-11 Cheyenne North, who led in rebounding (7.9) and was second in scoring (11.5). Anderson led in steals last season with 97 while averaging 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists. "The fact Erin Anderson was the MVP is indication of what kind of player and teammate she is," says McKinstry. "She has fantastic instincts and only knows how to play one way – hard. Cheyenne North has a ton of ability and can play and is willing to play all five positions."
The key to the Blue Devil offense, however, will hinge on 5-4 point guard Arrica Daye, who averaged 5.0 points and 2.3 assists as a backup. "A pit bull on the defensive end, she will be very important to what she brings to the point guard and leadership and whether we can reach our potential," says McKinstry. Daye will be backed by two promising freshmen, Valencia Scott of Olathe East and Destiny Vincent of Houston, Tex. "Both are incredibly talented with high motors."
Sophomores Sierra Roberts and Ky'Ana French bring experience to the shooting guard position. Second in 3-point goals with 43, Roberts averaged 7.5 points coming off the bench while French played only the first semester, averaging 5.0 points. "Sierra Roberts is our best outside shooter who has worked hard to be a complete player and not just a shooter; Ky'Ana French could be a difference maker with her ability to attack the floor and guard multiple positions," says McKinstry.
Sophomore Janay Jacobs will join Anderson at the small forward position. Playing in 23 games last years, Jacobs averaged 2.4 points. "A fantastic teammate, very selfless and willing to do whatever is asked," says McKinstry.
North and veteran Frankie Oropeza will provide the experience on the inside where they'll be joined by a quartet of freshmen, 5-11 Brianna Tauai of Blue Springs; 5-11 Nimo Samana of Van Horn; 5-10 Kyliea Jarrett of Bonner Springs; and 5-7 Brooklyn Wagler of SM Northwest. "Brianna Tauai is an undersized post with great footwork and soft hands who can step out and knock down shots," says McKinstry, "while Nimo Samana, Kyliea Jarrett and Brooklyn Wagler will provide depth at both the power forward and post positions.
"When it comes to traditional size, we don't have a lot but I expect our depth and ability to move players all over the floor combined with competitiveness and how hard we play to offset our lack of size," says McKinstry, who is being assisted by Chamissa Anderson and Dawn Adams.
KCKCC will vie with two powerhouse rivals, Highland and defending national champion Johnson County, in the five-team Jayhawk Division II Conference. Fort Scott and Labette round out the conference while Brown Mackie and Hesston will also vie for Region VI playoff seedings.
KCKCC's assistant men's coach last season, McKinstry was an assistant coach at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa, for seven years before coming to KCKCC. A 1999 graduate of Oak Park High School, McKinstry played four years of basketball at William Penn where he finished his four years as No. 5 on the all-time assist list and in the Top 10 in assists, steals and made 3-point shots.
PHOTO IDENT (wbb sophs)
Sophomores (from left) Sierra Roberts, Frankie Oropeza, Cheyenne North, Janay Jacobs, Erin Anderson, Ky'Ana French and Arrica Daye will provide a wealth of experience as Kansas City Kansas Community College opens its home basketball season Friday at 5 p.m. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)