By Evan Merrill
Mt Carmel Register
MOUNT CARMEL -- Finding your rhythm after an elongated Christmas break can be tough, and that might exactly be the culprit of some early shooting woes for Wabash Valley.
Nonetheless, No. 16 ranked Wabash Valley College overcame a shaky shooting start to claim an impressive victory in the Lady Warriors' first game of 2020, routing Greenville JV 107-31 on Monday night.
"Yeah, it was a good win for us. Coming back from break, getting back into game shape. . . . I almost didn't want to come back." WVC freshman Jazmyn Turner joked following her 14-point, 10 rebound double-double in the Lady Warriors' victory.
They'd quickly find their groove in overcoming those struggles, however. Sophomore Keya Patton would score seven of her 11 points in the opening frame to put her group ahead 20-4 at the end of the first.
Any notion of a woeful shooting performance was quickly nullified in the second quarter, as the Lady Warriors finished at the rim early and often.
They torched Greenville for 38 points in the quarter on 73.7 percent shooting, with 20 of their points coming at the rim. Their defensive intensity really amped up and began to give their opposition fits, forcing turnover after turnover in Wabash Valley's acclaimed full-court press.
"I thought it was good," Wabash Valley College Coach Lacey Shalenko spoke of her team's press. "I'm critical so I always think we can do things better, but that's obviously a big piece of what we want to do so we can speed teams up, turn them over so we can get out in easy transition buckets."
Sophomore KK White thoroughly impressed in the quarter with her energy in the press and her prowess in transition, scoring 14 of 16 straight points for the Lady Warriors as the lead inflated to 58-12 at halftime.
From then on the rout would ensue. Every active Lady Warrior would see playing time in the demolition, with all 11 of them recording points. The sole exception to this was sophomore Bre Beck, who remained out.
Beck suffered a high-ankle sprain on Dec. 7 against Shawnee and has been treating the ailing ankle since. There was no need to risk a return in this contest, but look for her to return to the lineup soon and she'll be a welcome addition.
Beck's presence at point guard can be a major difference in just how far this team can aspire to. With a healthy Beck running the Lady Warriors' offense, who knows this team's potential?
Five Lady Warriors would record double-figures scoring in the victory, with White scoring a team-high 18 points in the rout. Freshman Jazmyn Turner also notably recorded a 14-point, 10 rebound double-double.
"Jaz needs to average a double-double, she's almost there," Shalenko spoke of Turner. "She's probably at about eight boards a game. She needs to give us like 18 and 15, really. She's capable of doing that, she only played 22 minutes tonight, but rebounding has been something we've talked about a lot as a team in practice and something I've been on her about. Every single possession she has to go. She's made a strong effort tonight and the past couple games too to pursue rebounds harder and really get on the glass."
Another welcome addition in the scoring column was sophomore Jordan Aikens, who found her stroke from deep en route to a 13-point, five rebound night in 22 minutes off the bench.
"It feels better when you come out confident, make more shots," Aikens spoke of her performance. "Then you start to drive to the basket and get more rebounds. I definitely got up in my stats a little bit."
Back into the groove of the gameflow with a resounding victory, the Lady Warriors will have a quick turnaround prior to their next game, against Great Rivers Athletic Conference foe Lincoln Trail.
The Lady Statesmen (10-2) enter the contest with it being their first game since Dec. 14. They'll certainly be chomping at the bit to get to back to action and could present some challenges to the Lady Warriors.
"Lincoln Trail's good," Shalenko stated. "They're a lot better than they used to be. They have some nice players and a nice team, so it'll be a much tougher game for us."
WVC -- 20 38 24 25 -- 107
GJV -- 4 8 11 8 -- 31
Lady Warrior scorers: White 8 1 18, Pruitt 6 3 16, Turner 4 6 14, Aikens 5 0 13, Patton 4 3 11, Hunt 3 3 9, Moore 4 1 9, Rieckers 3 0 8, Gibson 2 0 4, Cowling 1 0 3, Joyner 1 0 2.
Next up: at home against Lincoln Trail; Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m.