Colleges: Moraine Valley women’s basketball team in Region IV title game vs. Kankakee
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media March 6, 2014 8:48PM
Moraine Valley's Maggie Yandel (left) was named All-Region IV, first team. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 8, 2014 6:19AM
The Moraine Valley women’s basketball team carries the local flag into the Region IV championship game Saturday at the Spartan Events Center at Elgin Community College.
No. 3 seed Moraine Valley (22-11) is a decided underdog against No. 1 Kankakee (26-6). The opening tip is slated for noon, with the winner advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament from March 18 through 22 in Overland Park, Kan.
“It’s going to be a hard game against them,” Moraine Valley’s Jamilla Jones said. “We just have to play harder. We have nothing to lose.”
Kankakee beat Moraine Valley 89-59 earlier this year, making 12-of-27 three-point shots in the game. Five different players made threes.
“They beat us by 30 at their place earlier this year, but we’re playing a different brand of basketball right now,” Moraine Valley coach Delwyn Jones said. “We were zoning a lot defensively, but we’re a man-to-man team more now.”
Kankakee is ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA poll and features Marian Catholic graduate Sarafina Handy, who is seventh in the nation in scoring average at 19.1 per game. The sophomore guard is eighth in the nation in three-pointers with 71 and fifth in the country in free-throw percentage at 83.3.
Freshmen guards Taylor Roach (11.4) and Mya Collum (10.8) also average in double figures. Hardy, Roach and Collum average a combined seven three-pointers per contest.
“They have three pretty good shooters, but we’ve got Nariman Jaber, who is second in the nation in blocked shots,” Jones said.
Moraine Valley leads the nation in blocked shots, with Jaber averaging 4 blocks per game. The Cyclones are second in the country in rebounding margin and ninth in the nation in offensive rebounds per contest.
“Speed is not their strength so we’re hoping our speed is going to put pressure on them,” Jones said.
The Cyclones are in their third Region IV final in the last six years. They haven’t won a Region IV title since 1989.
Future bright for Saints
Although the St. Francis women’s basketball team stumbled through an 8-23 season, all but one of its regulars could return for the 2014-2015 season, led by Katie Gonnering.
The junior is a two-time NAIA All-American and Capital One Academic All-American and three-time all-CCAC performer. She was seventh in the nation averaging 20.9 points and 11th in the country averaging 10.1 boards per contest.
“Coach (Sam Quigley) talked about everybody getting ready for next year because we expect better things,” Gonnering said. “As much as we can push ourselves to get better, the more open gyms we can get to, we’re going to improve and do a lot better next year.”
“Do you want to be the same player you were this year or something better,” Quigley said. “The biggest thing we stress to them is being a better person and a better player heading into next year. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
Lewis sweeps GLVC Track championships
The Great Lakes Valley Conference men’s and women’s indoor track and field championship trophies belong to Lewis. The women won their third title in the last five years, while the men captured their first championship in nine years.
Because of their success, Lewis men’s and women’s coach Dana Schwarting was named GLVC Coach of the Year. Megan Marchildon was selected Track Athlete of the Year. She set a career-best in the 60-meter hurdles with a second-place and NCAA provisional time of 8.65.
Amanda Farrough won the 1-mile run with a NCAA provisional time of 5:03.17 and added a championship in the 3,000-meter run to earn GLVC Freshman of the Year.
Isaac Jean-Paul won the high jump and automatically qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships with a conference and school-record leap of 7-11/2 on his way to being named the GLVC Field Athlete of the Year.
More awards for Lewis
Lewis redshirt junior outside hitter Geoff Powell and junior libero Lucas Yanez were named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.
Powell hit .706 in six sets. He netted a career-high .783 hitting percentage against Quincy and had 18 kills in 28 attempts without an error vs. Lindenwood.
Yanez had 20 digs over six sets, posting a .960 reception percentage while committing just one receiving error in 25 attempts. Against Quincy, he matched a season-high 12 digs for the No. 11 Flyers (12-4, 4-2).