December 6, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

MOUNT CARMEL - The John A. Logan College women's basketball team somehow found a way to erase an eight-point fourth-period deficit Saturday to defeat Wabash Valley on the road, 75-67.

The Volunteers improve to 5-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and are now 10-0 overall. The defending league champion Warriors fall to 2-2 and 6-5.

Wabash Valley seemed to have the game in control, leading at each quarter break: 17-11, 35-27, and 54-46 before succumbing to the Vols' relentless pressure in the final stanza.

Trailing by five, post player Gabby Sanders scored down low to cut the deficit to three at 63-60. Two Ariel Crump free throws pulled the Vols within one at 63-62.

McKena Miller then scored off a feed from Kaili Bacon to give Logan its first lead since the opening quarter at 64-63. A free throw by Tiaunna Watkins extended the advantage to two at 65-63, but the Warriors tied the game at 65 on a bucket from Kaela Hodges.

JALC retook the lead on a two-pointer in the paint from Watkins. Crump then delivered a dagger when she stole the ball in the backcourt and converted the lay-in basket for a 69-65 lead.

Free throws by Miller and Crump iced the improbable victory against a Wabash Valley team that had not lost a home game in nearly a year.

Vols head coach Amanda Shelby was ecstatic with the win.

"I told the girls at the half that I wasn't leaving here without a 'W' and I wanted to know who was with me. I think I got my answer. This team just doesn't give up. We've been in this position before, but we just keep digging and digging, and eventually, things fall our way in the end," she said. 

While it was Bacon who led the team in scoring with 17 points, it was Miller who led the second-half resurgence, tallying all 15 of her points over the final 20 minutes.

The Carbondale native sat out nearly the entire first half after picking up her second foul four minutes into the game.

"McKena getting into foul trouble really hurt us off the bat," Shelby said. "Fortunately, we do have a good bench, so even though I was tempted to bring her back into the game when we fell behind, I stayed the course with our reserves."

Not to be overlooked was the play of sophomore guard Haley Darnell, who poured in 12 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Crump also tacked on 12. Watkins struggled from the field and finished with nine points. Sanders dropped in eight points.

Logan will travel to Belleville Tuesday to take on Lindenwood-Belleville in a non-conference match. Region play resumes Saturday in Vincennes, Ind.

Shelby said she couldn't be prouder of her squad.

"I was trying to think back to the last time we came in here and beat Wabash and it's been a long time, so it sure feels good to get this one," she said.