BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
For a while, the Barton women’s basketball team was the talk of the Jayhawk Conference during the first semester.
A 2-game stretch in mid-November saw the Cougars knock off Butler on a last-second shot followed by a win over then No. 8 ranked Seward County. This from a team picked ninth in the preseason.
Those two games let the rest of the conference know Barton was not going to be an easy out.
The Cougars went on to finish the first semester with a 5-4 mark. Three of those four losses have come to teams leading the Jayhawk or within one game of that lead.
All four conference losses for the Cougars have come on the road. Barton is 8-5 overall.
Perhaps the lone loss among those four that Coach Alan Clark and his team would like to have back was a 20-point setback Garden City early in the conference slate.
The other losses for the Cougars – at No. 18 Cowley by nine points. Cowley is 8-1 in the Jayhawk and tied for the lead.
Barton lost at Independence. The Pirates are tied with Cowley at 8-1. The Cougars ended the semester with a loss at Hutchinson, 7-2 in the Jayhawk, one game out of the lead.
“We have been pretty good at home, we just need to find a way to win on the road,” Coach Alan Clark said. “But when you look at who we lost to on the road, three of those losses are to some of the best teams in the conference.”
The Cougars will resume play Wednesday when Cloud County brings a 7-2 Jayhawk record to the Barton Gym for a 5:30 p.m. tip.
One area Barton has not struggled is shooting the basketball. The Cougars are fourth in the Jayhawk in scoring at 73.3 points per game.
Barton leads the conference in 3-point shooting percentage at 37 percent and are third in 3-pointers made with 81.
The Cougars lead the Jayhawk in free throw percentage, hitting 75 percent from the charity stripe. Barton gets there often as well, with the 210 free made second only to Neosho.
“Offensively, we’ve been pretty good,” Clark said. “We score enough points to win on most night. There are just nights when we don’t shoot the ball well, we need to be able to rely on the defense a little more.”
Jaylin Stapleton has led Barton in scoring through the first 13 games. The 5-5 freshman from Meade is averaging 16.3 points per game. Another freshman, 5-9 guard Mallory Miller, is scoring 10.5 per game and has a buzzer-beating game-winner against Butler to her credit.
Taylor Regan, a 5-10 freshman from Otis-Bison, is close to double figures at 9.5 and leads Barton in rebounding at 7.8 per outing.
Fatou Ndao, a 6-2 freshman post from Senegal, is averaging 7.1 rebounds a game. Sophomore Micaela Jellison is scoring 9.3 a game and grabbing 5.7 rebounds.
Cloud County will come to Barton off a loss to end the semester at Butler. That loss ended a 5-game winning streak. The Thunderbirds have a win over Hutchinson back in mid November and the only other loss in conference was to Seward.
“Cloud has been playing well,” Coach Clark said. “Coach (Brett) Erkenbrack has done a great job with them. He is a very good coach. He’s been around the conference for a long time and it seems like he always puts a winner on the floor.”
Erkenbrack had been at helm of the T-Birds for 23 seasons and has won more than 500 games, including the 2001 NJCAA Championship.
The Cougars will also be at home Saturday when Pratt comes to Great Bend. Pratt is currently last in the Jayhawk at 0-9 and 1-11 overall.
JAYHAWK CONFERENCE WOMEN
Cowley 8-1 12-1
Independence 8-1 10-2
Hutchinson 7-2 10-2
Seward County 7-2 11-2
Cloud County 7-2 10-2
Coffeyville 6-3 8-5
Barton 5-4 8-5
Butler 4-5 7-5
Garden City 4-5 7-6
Dodge City 2-7 5-7
Neosho County 2-7 5-8
Colby 2-7 4-9
Allen County 1-8 3-10
Pratt 0-9 1-11
Cloud at Barton County
Butler at Pratt
Colby at Neosho
Dodge City at Allen
Garden City at Coffeyville
Hutchinson at Cowley
Independence at Seward
Pratt at Barton County
Allen at Hutchinson
Coffeyville at Butler
Cowley at Cloud
Independence at Dodge City
Neosho at Garden City
Seward at Colby
NJCAA WOMEN’S TOP 25
1 Gulf Coast State FL 11-0 200 1
2 Shelton State AL 14-0 192 2
3 New Mexico NM 15-0 184 3
4 Tallahassee FL 12-0 176 4
5 Northwest Florida State FL 12-0 168 5
6 Trinity Valley TX 13-1 160 6
7 South Georgia Tech GA 13-1 152 7
8 Salt Lake UT 11-3 144 9
9 Jones County MS 6-2 136 8
10 Pensacola State FL 16-0 128 10
11 Moberly Area MO 13-0 120 11
12 Wabash Valley IL 12-1 112 12
13 Frank Phillips TX 11-1 104 13
14 Harford MD 9-0 96 14
15 Seward County KS 9-2 88 15
16 Chipola FL 10-3 80 16
17 Odessa TX 11-3 72 17
18 Cowley KS 12-1 64 18
19 Angelina TX 10-2 56 19
20 Collin County TX 12-1 48 20
21 Fla. Southwestern St FL 13-3 40 21
22 Southern Idaho ID 12-2 32 22
23 Snow UT 12-2 24 23
24 Western Nebraska NE 12-2 16 24
25 Central Arizona AZ 8-2 8 25