KANSAS CITY, KS - For the past five seasons, the Jayhawk has been the nation’s toughest NJCAA Division II conference and this season will be no exception with four teams ranked in the preseason Top 13 – No. 3 Highland, No. 5 Johnson County, No. 9 KCKCC and No. 13 Labette.
The Kansas City, Kansas Community College Lady Blue Devils (3-0) will host St. Louis CC and North Central Missouri on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s exciting that the region coaches think so highly of our roster and returners,” says Coach Joe McKinstry.
The Lady Blue Devils finished with a 21-11 record last season with each loss to teams ranked in the Top 20 at one time or another.
Now, with most of the starting lineup returning intact, it’s the Lady Blue Devils who will go into the conference race with the most experience – and hopes for a return to the NJCAA national tournament where they reigned supreme in 2016.
“On paper, we have the most returners and percentage of statistics but we must prove ourselves. We have not beaten the top three teams and proven we are one of the best teams in the conference, finishing fourth in each of the last two years,” says McKinstry.
Heading the list of six veterans is a trio of front-liners who put up some outstanding numbers in 2017-18 – 6-1 Lillie Moore and 5-9 Kisi Young, both of Magnolia, Ark.; and 6-0 Nija Collier of Roseville, Mich.
Collier led the conference in rebounding with 8.5 per game, and 11th in scoring (10.9). Moore, a second team All-Jayhawk selection, was fifth in the conference in scoring (13.6) and rebounds (7.9) and her 20 rebounds against Saint Mary JV are the fourth most for a single game.
In the first three victories, Moore averaged 17.0 points, while Young averaged 15.2 points per outing.