Balanced Lady Eagles end skid in defensive showcase, rolling past McMurry

OC center Andee Wayne (left) goes up for a first-half basket while being fouled by McMurry's Keshia Collins on Monday night. Wayne made the ensuing free-throw to finish a three-point play.
OC center Andee Wayne (left) goes up for a first-half basket while being fouled by McMurry's Keshia Collins on Monday night. Wayne made the ensuing free-throw to finish a three-point play.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 10, 2014) – Everything that had been going wrong for Oklahoma Christian during a three-game losing streak on the road went right for the Lady Eagles on Monday night against McMurry (Texas).

The Lady Eagles hit their shots, went aggressively toward the basket and played suffocating defense en route to a 75-42 romp over McMurry in the Eagles’ Nest in a makeup game.

The win kept OC (12-10, 8-7 Heartland Conference) just a game out of fourth place in the league standings. The Lady Eagles also have home games this week against Rogers State and Arkansas-Fort Smith, two teams chasing them in the standings.

While recording their second win over McMurry (3-18, 3-12) in 12 days, the Lady Eagles featured balance up and down their lineup. Of the 16 Lady Eagles who saw action, all but two of them scored.

Andee Wayne – who returned to the starting lineup – went 5-of-6 from the field and led OC with 11 points, while Aisha Martin played one of the best games of her career, going 3-of-3 and scoring 10 points with a career-high six rebounds off the bench.

McKenzie Stanford and Emma Gade both scored nine points for OC. The Lady Eagles recorded assists on 18 of 25 baskets, led by Sydney Hill with six assists (just one off her career high) and Kaitlyn Morris with four.

“It was good for the whole team,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “It was a team effort. It was spread out across the whole team, so it was very nice that we could play a game and still get a little bit of rest, too."

On offense, the Lady Eagles never pulled off the gas pedal and were rewarded as a result. OC recorded five three-point plays, including back-to-back and-ones from Wayne and Jordan Gorham during a 17-0 first-half run that effectively decided the game. The Lady Eagles shot 43.9 percent from the field (25 of 57).

“They’re learning to take their time,” Findley said. “When you get the ball inside, you don’t need to be in a hurry. When you’re not very experienced at post play at the college level, you get in a hurry and you just want to shoot, when really, you need to be countering whatever the defense is doing to us. Tonight, I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

Defensively, OC was solid as well. After limiting the War Hawks to 43 points in the first meeting between the teams, OC did even better on Monday. McMurry’s 42 points were the fewest scored by an OC opponent since the Lady Eagles beat St. Gregory’s 62-27 on Jan. 29, 2009.

The War Hawks shot 22.8 percent from the field (13 of 57) and Keisha Collins, the conference’s fifth-leading scorer, managed only six points, almost 11 fewer than her average. OC also dominated on the boards, outrebounding the War Hawks 49-33. Four Lady Eagles had at least five rebounds each, led by Roz Hamilton and Martin with six each.

“I thought our help defense was doing a good job of coming when they needed to come on penetrators,” Findley said. “We did a good job of boxing out and not giving them second opportunities on the boards and our post defense was pretty solid tonight. The girls were trying to go straight up and not foul and I thought they did a good job of that.”

McMurry led 8-7 after a 3-pointer by Katy Boren with 13:15 left in the first half, but the War Hawks didn’t score again for more than 8½ minutes while OC seized control of the game. OC led by as many as 23 points in the first half and was up 35-15 at halftime.

McMurry came no closer than 18 points in the second half and the Lady Eagles built their lead to as many as 37 points in the final minutes.

Sierra Maykus and Boren led McMurry with eight points each. Collins added eight rebounds to go with her six points.

Monday’s game had originally been scheduled for Dec. 10 but was postponed due to icy road conditions.

OC is 5-0 all-time against McMurry, which has announced it is withdrawing from the NCAA Division II membership process and leaving the Heartland Conference after this academic year.