January 24, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The Shawnee College women’s basketball team won the early battle for first place in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference Saturday, rallying to defeat John A. Logan College, 87-74.

With the win, the Saints improve to 9-1 in the league and to 19-1 overall. The Vols fall to 8-2 in the conference and to 14-4 overall.

Logan led 44-43 at the half and maintained the lead midway through the third period before Shawnee kicked its offense in gear to take a five-point lead at 66-61 going into the final stanza. The visitors then outscored the Vols 21-to-13 over the final 10 minutes.

Logan was led offensively by sophomore forward McKena Miller’s 27 points. The Carbondale native knocked down eight field goals, including three triples. She was also a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.

Freshman Tiaunna Watkins followed with 23 points, including four bombs from beyond the arc. No other Vol reached double figures. Ariel Crump, Kaili Bacon and Haley Darnell each netted seven points.

The Saints were led by Le’Onzerrae Grubbs with 23 points. Emari Jones checked in with 20 and the 6-foot-5 sophomore center transfer, Jesheon Cooper, dropped in 16 points.

Vols head coach Amanda Shelby was disappointed with the loss.

“This was a tournament atmosphere here today,” she said. “Shawnee put a lot of pressure on us with their full-court press in the second half. That really seemed to do us in a little bit. We weren’t in the right place at the right time. We were throwing lazy passes. Give Shawnee credit. They’re a very talented team. Once they took the lead on us, they weren’t going to give it up.”

Shelby said Cooper’s presence in the paint altered a lot of her team’s shots.

“That’s going to happen when you’re 6-foot-5. We talked about taking some shot fakes. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Shelby said. “Hopefully, we learned from this experience today and will handle things better if we face them again down the road.”

Logan returns to the hardwood at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Southwestern Illinois. It will be “Du Quoin Night” at the college. All Du Quoin residents get free admission to the game and all Du Quoin students also receive a free popcorn and soda courtesy of the Du Quoin State Bank.