OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 28, 2013) – After a close win at Oklahoma Panhandle State early in the season, Oklahoma Christian knew it needed to take the Aggies seriously when they made the return trip to the Eagles’ Nest on Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles did just that, seizing control from the opening tip and rolling to an easy 86-43 win over Panhandle State, which ended the season on a 10-game losing streak.
OC (15-11) regained momentum after a pair of road losses last week at Texas A&M International and St. Mary’s (Texas), just in time for a showdown Saturday against the Heartland Conference leader, Texas-Permian Basin.
Games involving Heartland newcomers OC and McMurry (Texas) don’t count in the conference standings this season, but if they did, the Lady Eagles would have clinched a spot in the four-team league tournament with the win over Panhandle State (4-22). OC is 9-6 against Heartland foes this season, which would put the Lady Eagles third in the league.
The Lady Eagles held on for a six-point win at Panhandle State on Nov. 29, but a lot has changed for both teams since then. This time around, OC jumped to 10-point lead in the first 3½ minutes and never looked back.
“We have progressed and gotten a lot better and I think they’re struggling,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “That showed tonight. They traveled down here today, to their credit, they had to get off the bus and play and that’s hard to do. We were able to start the game off well and just continue to play from there.”
Five OC players scored in double figures. Katy O’Steen led the way with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting. She increased her career scoring total to 1,315 points, which ranks her 17th in school history. She needs 34 points to move into the No. 15 spot.
Madison Middle scored a career-high 11 points on 3-of-5 3-point shooting. It was the first time the senior guard had reached double figures during her college career.
“That’s good for her, at the end of her career here, to break through and do that,” Findley said. “I’m pleased about that. Hopefully she’ll keep shooting that way as we look down the road at (National Christian College Athletic Association) regionals. She could be a shooter that could come off the bench for us.”
Roz Hamilton had 11 points and eight rebounds for OC, which outrebounded the Aggies by a whopping 57-22 margin. Logan McKee and Krista Stevens added 10 points each for the Lady Eagles, who shot 45.6 percent from the field (26 of 57) and 39.3 percent from 3-point range (11 of 28).
OC led 41-17 after a 19-foot jumper by O’Steen with 2:32 left in the first half. An 8-2 run by Panhandle State brought the Aggies within 45-25 by halftime, but they came no closer than 20 in the second half as OC steadily pulled away for the 43-point win. It was OC’s most lopsided win since beating Hillsdale Baptist 102-56 on Nov. 1, 2010.
Megan Taylor and Sarah Johnson scored eight points each to lead Panhandle State. Whitley Coca had six points and six steals for the Aggies, who shot 25.4 percent from the field (15 of 59).