JOLIET – After starting with a win at Madison College in their North Central Community College Conference opener last week, Joliet Junior College’s women’s basketball team looked forward to its first home conference game against Milwaukee Area Technical College on Wednesday.
While the Stormers had 20-plus point victories in their first two N4C games, they were no match for the Wolves, who quickly jumped out to a 25-10 lead after one quarter, expanded it to 52-22 at halftime and then went on to capture a 93-51 victory at the Event Center.
JJC (11-6, 2-0), which had been in the top 10 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III rankings, just missed making the top 10 in this week’s poll. But Wolves coach Shaun Sanderson hopes that performances such as this one will not only get them back in the ratings, but more importantly, help them continue to improve so that they are a factor in the postseason.
The Wolves scored 90 or more points for the fourth time this season, and their easy victory was thanks in part to getting double-digit scoring totals from five players, with three of those scoring 17 or more points.
Leading JJC was Kike Ojo, a freshman from Bolingbrook, who scored a season-high 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Madison Harris, a sophomore from Plainfield South, tossed in five 3-pointers to give her 19 points. And Lynese Johnson, a freshman from Bolingbrook, also contributed 17 points.
Other leaders were Dasia Norris, a freshman from Joliet West who had 12 points, Emily Atsinger, a sophomore from Lincoln-Way West who had 11 points and six assists, and Kierra Tyler, a sophomore from Joliet West who added six points, six rebounds and seven assists. The Wolves shot 51 percent from the floor, while holding Milwaukee Tech to 34 percent.
“We keep telling our posts that if we’re going to win, we have to rebound the basketball,” Sanderson said. “I keep telling Kike that she’s one of the strongest players in the conference, and tonight she showed it, and I think a lot of it is her confidence is starting to build, and it’s a great time to get it. And usually when Madison is hitting the three-ball it’s almost a win, and she was in the zone tonight.
“We want to wear down our opponents, while getting other players involved so they’re scoring and it’s not as many minutes for our starters. We as coaches hate to use the word ‘relax’ since that’s when mistakes start to come. I’ll take this kind of game every night. This is a good game since we hit the road and play at Rock Valley on Saturday.”
Ojo had been in 15 games, but only had scored 17 points so far, so her big showing obviously was pleasing to her and her teammates, as well as the coaching staff.
“It was fun going up and down the court and seeing different people doing what we didn’t expect,” Ojo said. “As long as we keep playing the way that we are now, with the chemistry that we have, we’ll go far this season. Both on and off the court, all of us are close. We all communicate with each other. Sometimes we have hardships, but at the end of the night we end up overcoming those as a team and then look into them at practice.”
Harris, who was averaging 4.2 points a game, had a great night from long range, collecting 15 of her 19 points on attempts that she made from beyond the 3-point arc.
“The beauty of this team is that we have a bunch of people who can shoot the 3 and a bunch of post players who can get rebounds,” Harris said. “It’s really nice since we have such a big team. So if some of us get tired, then we can sub someone else right in. I’m glad that I finally had a good shooting game today. Being on this team is super awesome.”