BELLEVILLE — The evolution of a young, talented basketball team continued on Monday night at Southwestern Illinois College.
Sophomore Janelle Cannon sparked a sluggish SWIC offense by scoring 15 of her 19 points in the second half as the Blue Storm pulled away late for a 71-42 win over the Washington University junior varsity Bears of St. Louis.
Cannon, one of only two experienced players on a Blue Storm roster which includes 11 freshmen, keyed a 16-2 scoring run early in the second half as the Blue Storm (1-1) took a 48-27 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
Showing superior athleticism and a sometimes lethal transition game, the Blue Storm simply ran Washington University out of the gym in the second half.
"There isn't any doubt that we need to be up-tempo team. I think you saw that tonight,'' SWIC coach Mike Juenger said. "The problem is that we've got seven girls on this team who were the leading scorers on their high school teams and we're still a little selfish.
"When we learn how much fun it can be to throw a great pass to a teammate for a layup, we're going to be fine. Like I keep saying, we're so young. But I did like what I saw in the second half.''
Former O'Fallon High standout Danielle Duncan, proving at the age of 26 that she hasn't lost her shooting touch, added nine points on three 3-point baskets, while freshman Breana Baker also added nine points.
A total of nine players cracked the scoring column for the Blue Storm as Juenger went to his bench early and often.
But perhaps still feeling the effects of a season-opening loss to Mineral Area College last week, the Blue Storm struggled in the early going.
Washington University, getting seven early points from Nia Yancopolous, led 12-9 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
But SWIC took the lead for good with a 10-0 run.
Duncan started the streak with her first 3-point basket and when Cannon scored on a drive, SWIC lead 14-12.
Freshman Sorriyah Ranger then tallied on an inside move and when freshman guard LaTeesha Deloach drained a 3-point shot, SWIC was up 19-12.
The Blue Storm led 28-21 at halftime.
"We were sluggish early. I guess maybe we were a little lackadaisical. Maybe we thought it was going to be easy,'' Juenger said. "Again, some of that is being young. We've got to learn to play hard every minute.''
SWIC is back in action Tuesday when they travel to Mineral Area College to battle the Cardinals for the second time in a week.