College Sports

SWIC women’s basketball player McNeal is honored by Region 24

The inspiring junior college basketball career of Southwestern Illinois College sophomore Adrianna McNeal came to a happy ending last week when she was named as a first-team Region 24 player for the 2014-15 season.

An all-state selection while playing at Lakota West High School in Cincinnati, McNeal was a starter on the Blue Storm team that advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament two years ago. She then sat out the 2013-14 SWIC season after giving birth to her daughter.

McNeal returned to the lineup this past year and averaged 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for a Blue Storm team that finished a disappointing 13-15 and lost in the first round of the rugged NJCAA Region 24 Tournament.

The 5-foot-11 McNeal was also a first team Great Rivers Athletic Conference selection.

“AD (McNeal) had an outstanding season for us. For her to come back and play like she did after sitting out all of last year was inspirational,” Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said. “It took her a few games to get back into playing shape but she had a four game stretch late in the season where she averaged like 24 points, eight or nine rebounds and five assists per game. She’s a big-time talent.”

With the size and wingspan of an inside player and the cat-like quickness of a guard, McNeal has the ability to handle the basketball and knack of being able to score from in the post and the perimeter. With such attributes, McNeal has naturally attracted plenty of attention from four-year colleges at all levels from throughout the Midwest.

“She will be playing college basketball somewhere next year,” Juenger said. “She’s 5-11, athletic and she can handle the basketball. Right now we’re looking at schools that have family housing and so she can have her child with her.

“I have the utmost respect for players like AD and former (SWIC) players Danielle Duncan and Meisha Billups who have kids while in college, but continue to work towards their college degrees to make a better life for themselves and their families.”