Practice makes perfect didn’t work out the way coach Valerie Stambersky had planned for her 2012-13 women’s basketball team at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
“We spent more time on shooting than any other team I’ve coached,” said Stambersky. Unfortunately, not enough shots went in – just 31.4 percent, the worst shooting percentage in Stambersky’s 14 years at the helm. `”We just weren’t consistent. Sometimes we’d shoot well but others very poorly, plus we were a good fouling team. We gave teams a lot more scoring opportunities to score by sending them to the free throw line.”
Indeed, opponents went to the foul line 372 more times than the Lady Blue Devils (791-419) and outscored them by 197 points in a 10-21 season.
Defensively, the Blue Devils gave up just 57.9 points in the Jayhawk East, the third fewest behind No. 1 ranked Johnson County and Region champion Highland, and had a slight rebounding edge.
But their offensive average of 51.2 points per game was the second lowest in the East, mainly because of the inconsistent shooting and occasional long scoring droughts. In seven games, the Blue Devils shot better than 40 percent but were under 30 percent 15 times including season lows of .167 against Allen County and 186 against Johnson County. Turnovers were also a problem – 19.4 per game compared to 16.3 for opponents.
One of seven sophomores, Sumner Academy grad Alexander Blaurock led the Blue Devils in scoring (8.9) and rebounding (6.0). Other soph scoring leaders were Paris Johnson of Schlagle, 6.7; Mariah Marusak of Shawnee Mission South, 5.6; Jherica Montgomery of Wichita Southeast, 4.5; Brittany Clement, 4.3; Nage Umutlu of Alanya Turkey, 4.1; and Latosha Ware of Shawnee Mission North, 3.4. Montgomery was also second (5.2) and Ware fourth (3.7) in rebounding while Marusak (2.0) led in assists.
Only two of the top scorers and rebounders return, 5-8 guard Samantha Hurst of Harrisonville, who was second in scoring (6.7) and assists (1.9); and 5-11 forward Bailey West of Omaha Burke, who averaged 4.5 points and 5.2 rebounds.
“Both Samantha and Bailey got a lot of experience this year and will be expected to be key players next year,” Stambersky said.
The Lady Blue Devil schedule will have a whole new look in 2013-2014. Instead of 18 Jayhawk East Conference games for the last couple of decades, KCKCC will only play 10 Division II Conference games – against Johnson County, Highland, Fort Scott, Brown Mackie and Hesston. However, it is possible teams from the Jayhawk will be scheduled as non-conference opponents.