Sports

SWIC women adds a pair of guards for upcoming basketball season

Nobody was more displeased then Southwestern Illinois College women’s basketball coach Mike Juenger when the Blue Storm finished with a rare losing record and early round setback in the NJCAA Region 24 Tournament.a year ago.

Now Juenger is doing his best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Looking to add even more athletes to a modified up-tempo style offense, Juenger continued his qeust to rebuild the Blue Storm back into a Great Rivers Athletic Conference power recently with the signing of Shelby Wells from Peoria and Analiese Osborne of Clarksville, Tenn. for the 2015-16 season.

“We’re going to have a different look this year. We’re going to press and get after it on the defensive end of the court,’’ Juenger said. “We had always been a program which took pride in being one of the top defensive teams in the nation and last year we got away from that. To be honest, we just weren’t very good on the defensive end of the court.

“Both Shelby and Analiese are very good athletes first of all. They’re very quick and they both play very hard on both ends of the court. Plus offensively, they can both put the ball in the basket. I know that Shelby is a very good perimeter shooter.’’

The 5-foot-5 Wells is a graduate of Peoria Richwoods High School where she averaged 10 points and 5 assists a year ago. Wells is the second player from Richwoods recruited by Juenger in recent years. Brea Baker, a 6-2 forward went on to become an All-Region 24 player while at SWIC.

“Shelby is a great young lady first of all and while she is basically a shooting guard, she has the ability to play the point as well,’’’ Juenger said. “The assistant coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago helped us get her and he was her AAU coach as well. She comes very highly recommended.

“What I really like about Shelby is that she’s supposed to be just a tremendous perimeter shooter and she can get up and down the floor. We’ve gotr a lot of guards and that’s a good thing with the way we hope to play this year.’’

Osborne is a 5-7 athlete who is more of a scorer then a pure shooter. A hard-nosed defender, Osborne is just a solid all-around player.

“Analiese is a very smart kid who we were fortunate to get,’’ Juenger said. “She had a nerumber of top junior colleges in the Tennessee area who were recruting her but she just decided that it would be best for her to get a little farther away from home.

“She’s not a great shootetrr, buts she’s a kid who will give you everything she can when she’s on the floor and plays pretty good defense. Again shes what we were looking for because she can play either guard spot.’’

The two signings leave Juenger with one scholarship remaining.

“This time of year with summer school winding down sometimes you’ll get a kid who wants to transfer of maybe a player who went to a Division I school who decides to come to a junior college program for one reason or another. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks,’’ Juenger said.

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at dcriddle@bnd.com or 618-239-2661.the floo

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