Cyclones women net two more wins
Two out of three ain’t bad.
With apologies to former rock singer Meatloaf, that sentiment also applied to Moraine Valley College’s women’s basketball team in recent action. After suffering a lopsided road loss to Kankakee Community College on Jan. 25, the Cyclones returned to both Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play and their winning ways.
Moraine led almost wire-to-wire in downing Morton College 77-67 last Thursday and then picked up a 68-50 triumph over Oakton College on Saturday. Leading the way for the Cyclones were Jamilla Jones and Maggie Yandel.
Jones, who ranks 28th nationally in National Junior College Athletic Association Division II with a per-game average of 10.3 rebounds, grabbed seven versus Morton, to go along with a team-best 20 points and seven steals. Stagg grad Yandel backed her with 13 points and seven boards.
Behind that duo, Moraine built a 39-26 halftime advantage and never led by fewer than eight points over the final 20 minutes. Also chipping in for the winners were Marist product Aileen Gorman (12 points) and Nariman Jaber (10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks), each of whom has placed her name among NJCAA Division II leaders in a major statistical category.
Gorman, who was a national qualifier in cross country for the Cyclones during the fall, is eighth in the country in per-game steals with 3.8, while Jaber ranks No. 7 in blocks with an average of three per contest. Also representing Moraine in a national category is sharpshooter Katie McGann, who is 12th in 3-point-shooting accuracy with her 41.4 percent mark.
Yandel’s 25 points in 25 minutes was the key element in Moraine’s success against Oakton. The sophomore sank 12-of-19 shots in amassing her total.
In winning for the sixth time in seven league outings, the Cyclones received scoring from 11 players during the second half. Moraine used a 10-0 first-half run to initially establish a double-digit edge for itself, was ahead 38-24 at the break and never got threatened after that.
Individual notables for the Cyclones in addition to Yandel were Amber Hunter (six points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes) and Jaber (four points, nine rebounds and five blocks in 19 minutes).
No. 17-ranked Kankakee hit 9-of-16 3s, a long-distance display that enabled it to construct a 16-point halftime advantage and eventually cruise in an 89-59 victor on its home court.
Keeping Moraine competitive for a while was McGann, who went 3-of-3 from 3-point range and totaled 13 points.
A rough 2013-14 campaign didn’t get any better last week, as the Cyclones absorbed ISCC losses versus Morton (73-52) and Oakton (87-69) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
Moraine drew as close eight points to Morton late in the second half before falling back. Johnte Shannon (18 points), Stagg alumnus Brett Kaiser (15 points, 10 rebounds, five steals) and Des’nique Harris (12 rebounds) were the Cyclones’ headliners in defeat.
Moraine was staring at a 30-point halftime deficit on Saturday, but staged an impressive comeback behind Shannon (16 points, five rebounds, four assists), Denton Walker (12 points, five rebounds) and Jason Allen (10 points). Shannon’s two-handed slam highlighted the Cyclones’ rally, which reduced Oakton’s huge lead to just 11 points at one juncture.
Cameron Juillerat (eight points) and Sandburg grad Brennan Ivory (seven rebounds) also made their presences felt for Moraine in a losing cause.