Hollywood could not have crafted a better start to the Blue Streaks’ season. Featuring a squad with no seniors, but a wealth of young talent, the Blue and Gold have surged into a five-game winning streak. Despite playing four of those games on the road, JCU pulled off an undefeated start, including a classic 100-97 contest decided in four overtimes on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
Their fifth win came against a strong Carnegie Mellon team in Pittsburgh, but that did not slow JCU down, as they rolled to a 70-54 victory. This fantastic start has set them up nicely as they roll into conference play undefeated for the first time since the ’93-’94 season.
Just two days after the four-overtime thriller with crosstown rival Case Western Reserve University, JCU appeared to still have the adrenaline pumping as they came out firing against the Tartans. They eventually calmed down and had an up and down first half, but closed it out with 22-9 run and went into halftime up by nine.
The Blue Streaks started the second half just as they did the first and did not take their foot off the gas pedal. The Tartans never put up a run that JCU could not respond to and were behind double-digits for a majority of the second half. In the end, JCU prevailed by 16 and left Pittsburgh knowing that they had set themselves up very nicely for the coming weeks.
What made this win even more impressive is the fact that prior to this game, Carnegie Mellon was statistically one of the best defenses in all of Division III. The Tartans held both their previous opponents to under 30 points, but the Blue Streaks more than doubled that and gave CMU a much-needed wake up call. Junior forward Missy Spahar led JCU to victory, notching her 14th career double-double with a stat line of 24 points and 16 rebounds.
“[CMU] played us mostly in a zone, which we haven’t practiced as much, in the beginning of the first quarter,” Spahar said. “It was hard for us to get into a good offense because we were rushing our shots and maybe forcing some shots that we didn’t need. But then we started working as a team and attacking the gaps, which we practice all the time.”
Editor’s Note: The Blue Streaks start OAC play on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in Alliance, Ohio against the Mount Union Purple Raiders. This will be a tough test for JCU, as Mount Union also comes in on a five-game win streak and are the defending OAC champions. The team will look to key in on Mount Union’s star player, senior point guard Rosa LaMattina, who was named to the DIII preseason All- American team. For results, box scores and game stories, go to www.jcusports.com.