The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm ended a third straight losing season on Tuesday as it dropped a 78-47 decision to top-seed Wabash Valley in the opening round of the NJCAA Region 24 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Ranked 12th in the the NJCAA Division I poll, Wabash Valley applied full-court pressure throughout and SWIC, playing without a true point guard, committed 32 turnovers.
SWIC veteran coach Mike Juenger learned a valuable lesson.
“People keep telling me you can never have enough point guards,” said Juenger who has lost three point guards due to academic ineligibility in the past three years. “I guess next year, I’ll just have to recruit four point guards.
“Alicia (Book) gave it a great effort. She sat out her senior year of high school last year with an injury, plus she’s not a point guard. She’s a shooting guard. We asked her to play the point against the No. 12 team in the nation and she did her best.’’
SWIC, which ends its season at 10-18, was led by Madisyn Sheraka and Zaria Valle who scored 15 points each.
One of three sophomores on an otherwise young team, Sheraka ended her SWIC career on a positive note. A Roxana High School graduate, Sheraka averaged better than 20 points in her last 10 games in a Blue Storm uniform.
“I’m sure Madisyn is a little disappointed that we didn’t win more. We won five games last year and 10 this year. She’s a competitive kid who wants to win,’’ Juenger said. “The good thing is that she’s going to get a chance to move on and get a nice scholarship to play basketball and get her college degree during the next two years. She’s a great student and a great young lady.’’