For Lady Knights basketball coach Ernie Colombe, it couldn't have been a better start to the Northern Illinois Big 12 East season.
Playing on the road at Morris, Kaneland bolted out to a 14-point first-quarter lead, had five different players score the first five baskets, had 11 different girls score in all, gave all 16 girls on the roster significant playing time and defensively forced Morris into 26 turnovers.
All that led to a decisive 56-27 win by the Knights.
"That's the reason they are predicted to be in the upper half of the conference this year," Morris coach Luke Windy said. "They were in the sectional final last year and only lost one starter off that team. Their sophomores won conference last year and their freshmen won conference. I guess you could say that we ran into a buzz saw tonight."
Kaneland got baskets from Ashley Prost, Allyson O'Herron (a trey), Sarah Grams and Emma Bradford to bolt out to an 11-0 lead. Morris finally got on the board with a free throw by Julie Jurasits but that would stand as the lone point of the period by the Redskins.
"I think our defensive intensity was really good and they (the Redskins) had a tough time of getting open," Colombe said. "The girls pride themselves on playing defense and they played with intensity tonight."
Morris came out in a zone defense but four treys by Bradford forced the Redskins to change things up down 28-8.
"We were wanting to try something different because we've been struggling with our man-to-man defense. We wanted to mix it up," Windy said. "They hit their open shots and shot us right out of the zone."
Colombe said that it was all about his team finding the right match-ups in building a 34-12 halftime lead.
"We're looking for match-ups. When we saw they had something, they took advantage of it," he said. "They came out in a zone and their press got to us a little bit tonight, but overall I was pretty happy.
Morris did force 22 Kaneland turnovers on the night.
"The positives tonight was that we have been practicing the girls using the left hand and driving the lane and I saw that," Windy said. "That and our press did a fairly good job of creating turnovers."
Ultimately the night belonged to the Knights, though.
"A lot of kids scored and a lot of kids got playing time tonight," Colombe said. "It's an excellent start to the conference. All 16 girls played tough tonight."
Emily Burling had six points and nine rebounds for Morris, and Jessica Ponce had six points for the Redskins.