Women’s College Basketball: Moraine Valley rises to occasion in win over Prairie State
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 15, 2014 6:34PM
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:17AM
With a five-inch height advantage over Prairie State’s tallest player, Moraine Valley’s 6-foot-3 Nariman Jaber had an opportunity ripe for the picking.
Jaber and 6-foot-1 Jamilla Jones were quite the 1-2 punch Saturday, the post duo dominating the lane in helping host Moraine Valley defeat Prairie State 74-64 in an Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference game.
For Jaber, success wasn’t solely inside dominance. It was her all-around game.
“(Being able to hit a jumper), it’s an advantage as an inside player,” Jaber said. “It’d be good, too, if I can get into the post and be stronger there. We started the season a little slow, but we’re definitely crashing the boards now.”
Jaber finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Jones added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Moraine Valley (18-10, 10-2). Eight different players scored at least five points for the Cyclones.
It was Jaber, Jones and Amber Hunter (6 points, 3 rebounds) leading the way early in the post for Moraine, which held a 31-19 advantage with five-plus minutes left in the first half.
“We’ve all got to box out, and it’s not just up to the post,” Jones said. “We all need to go for the rebound, all need to execute. If we box out, opponents won’t get second chances.”
The post play opened things up on the perimeter. Shavonne Lewis (14 points) hit two three-pointers and Maggie Yandel and Amanda Weiss both connected from long distance as the Cyclones led 43-29 at the half.
Prairie State outscored Moraine Valley 35-31 in the second half, getting as close as 47-40 with 14:04 remaining, but Jones and Jaber had an answer.
Jones scored on a putback, the team’s third shot on the possession, while Jaber hit a midrange jumper and finished her own putback to spark a 9-2 spurt that was capped by a Lewis three-pointer.
“We came out strong and all wanted this win,” Jaber said. “Our shots were falling; we boxed out and crashed the boards.”
Moraine Valley finished 12-of-24 from three-point range, Lewis hitting all four she attempted.
Mandie Green (22 points), Faith Foulks (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Nijea Dixon (13 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) led Prairie State (13-15, 6-6).
“We got what we wanted offensively, but we didn’t stop them at the defensive end,” Prairie State coach Jeff Boyd said. “They got the easy shots, and it came down to making shots. We didn’t.”