The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm didn't let a poor start slow it down on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Region 24 Women's Basketball Tournament at Rend Lake College in Ina.
Guards Erika McCaster and LaTeesa Deloach combined for 48 points as the third-seeded Blue Storm raced past host Rend Lake for an 84-74 victory.
Playing before a large crowd on their home court, the sixth-seeded Warriors led by as many as 10 points early and 23-18 at the midway point of the first half before McCaster, Laura Litchfield and Mone'y Black keyed a 25-11 run as SWIC (21-5) took a 43-33 lead at halftime.
"I told you that I was worried about this game. Rend Lake is a team that likes to play up-tempo, and I knew that playing on their home court they would be a real handful. They were. Plus we didn't play well early,'' Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said.'ve
"It took us a while and when Erika (McCaster) and T (Deloach) started to hit a couple of shots, it got us going a little bit better. This was a game of runs. I will say that.''
A former Belleville West standout, McCaster led SWIC with 28 points, while Deloach added 20. The win moves the Blue Storm into the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday against Kaskaskia College.
The two teams split a pair of regular season games.
"It will be a real battle. Kaskaskia is another team which likes playing up tempo,'' Juenger said."We've got to get back on defense and not let them score in transititon.''
The title game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Rend Lake College.