By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Timing wasn’t exactly Kansas City Kansas Community College’s best ally in a clash of highly rated women’s basketball teams Wednesday night.
Fired up by their elevation to the No. 1 ranking in NJCAA Division II, the Lady Cavaliers of Johnson County Community College rode their new ranking to a 99-67 win in the Jayhawk Conference opener for both teams. Playing their 15th game on the road, the Blue Devil men dropped a 59-49 decision and fell to 6-15.
The loss, the second to a No. 1 team this season, dropped the 13th ranked Blue Devils to 18-3 heading into a collision with yet another ranked team, at No. 5 Highland Saturday at 1 p.m. The men’s game will follow at 3 p.m.
The KCKCC women actually shot better than the No. 1 Cavaliers and were 8-for-12 from three-point range but it wasn’t nearly enough to offset huge deficits in mistakes, free throws and rebounding.
Guilty of 28 turnovers, the Blue Devils were outscored by 24 points from the free throw line (37-13) and outrebounded 51-32. Led by Nieka Wheeler’s 24 points, six players scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, who shot 40.6 percent to .451 for KCKCC.
Janai Mitchell led KCKCC with 17 points and nine rebounds. Imani White added 16 points, Kalah Jiggetts 10 and Cassidy Harbert 9 along with 10 assists.
The Blue Devil men never could find their shooting touch in the nightcap, hitting just 15 of 55 shots for 27.3 percent. The Cavaliers, who shot 39.6 percent, also had a 38-34 edge in rebounding although KCKCC committed just 10 turnovers to 15 for JCCC.
Willis Garner had 10 points, Clay Young 9, Marcus Allen and Collin Adney 8 each and Lucas Smith 7 for KCKCC. Lucas also had seven rebounds and Young six. JCCC got 41 of its 59 points from two players – 23 by Pat Jones and 18 from Preston Oakes 18.