By Cole Sheeks, Sports Editor
Follow him at @ColeSheeks
Led by a milestone day from Kaela Jones, the Bluejays’ women’s basketball team won their CCIW opener over the Carroll Pioneers 66-49 on Dec. 2 at R.A. Faganel Hall.
“My dad texted me and I just looked at my phone and he was like, ‘you got a double-double,’“ said Jones. “That’s my first double-double in my [personal] college history.”
The Bluejays’ senior forward made her presence felt all game long as she filled the box score with 22 points and three assists to go along with a pair of blocks and steals; however, it was her 13 rebounds that she was most proud of.
“I think [my] rebounding was more of an accomplishment,” said Jones. “The rebounds and the effort I gave today were what I was proud of more than the points because I know I can score, but I’m really proud that I gave effort the whole time.”
Jones, who shot 9 of 13 from the field and 4 of 5 from three point range, recognized that the Bluejays improved their intensity in the second half in order to pull away from the Pioneers.
“That was the key of the game,” said Jones. “We have times where we go up and down in intensity and in the first quarter we were struggling a little bit.”
The Bluejays trailed 17-16 roughly midway through the half before closing the second quarter on a 12-point run as they opened up a temporary double digit lead. Carroll entered the intermission trailing 36-28.
EC turned the ball over 15 times in the first half before cutting that number down to 10 in the second, as well as improving their rebounding total from 17 to 23.
Yet, the Pioneers battled back and managed to pull within a single point with 4:21 remaining in the third.
“In the third and fourth [quarters] we kinda looked at the scoreboard like, ‘this is not gonna happen. We are gonna win on our home court,’” said Jones. “This was our first conference game, we have four seniors, so we just went out with more intensity and that’s purely why [we pulled away].”
Although she was productive throughout, Jones closed this victory for the Bluejays as she scored seven consecutive points with just over two minutes remaining in regulation as part of a 14 point, eight rebound second half effort.
The victory puts EC in the win column to begin their conference slate. The Bluejays move to (3-3, 1-0 CCIW) on the young season, while Carroll drops to (1-5, 0-1 CCIW).
The Pioneers finished the 2016-2017 with a (1-23, 1-15 CCIW) record.
“Coming into this game, Carroll being … not the top [in the conference], it was definitely something like, ‘well we’ve played against better, we should’ve beat better,’” said Jones. “This should not be something that we should not be close with.”
Moving forward, the Bluejays will be tested as they face Augustana at home on Dec. 6 with a 2 p.m. start before the defending CCIW champion Wheaton Thunder visit EC on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
“[Augustana and Wheaton] have been a challenge the past four years,” said Jones. “We just have to pull the intensity from this game and continue with it and roll with it.”