OKLAHOMA CITY (March 2, 2013) – On Senior Day in the Eagles’ Nest, it was a freshman that led the way to a huge win for Oklahoma Christian.
Guard Sydney Hill scored 29 points – 25 of those after halftime – and nailed a momentum-turning 3-pointer in overtime as the Lady Eagles ended the regular season with a 77-71 win over Heartland Conference champion Texas-Permian Basin, ending UTPB’s 13-game winning streak.
Games involving Heartland newcomers OC and McMurry (Texas) don’t count in the conference standings this basketball season, but if they did, the Lady Eagles would have finished third after posting a 10-6 mark against league foes. Conference runner-up St. Mary’s (Texas) was the only other Heartland team to beat UTPB this season.
“The girls were awesome and the crowd was awesome,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “I’m so proud of the way we stepped up to meet their challenge of physical play. We did not back down. It was a huge win.”
UTPB (19-6) led 37-27 at halftime, but Hill almost singlehandedly pulled the Lady Eagles back into the game, scoring all of OC’s points in a 12-4 run to open the second half. Her layup with 10:11 left gave OC its first lead, 48-46, since the early moments of the game.
With the score tied 61-61, both teams had a chance to win in the final moments of regulation. Katy O’Steen, who had 21 points and seven rebounds, missed a closely guarded six-footer with about eight seconds left, and UTPB’s Teisha King missed a difficult layup attempt with :02 left.
After a tie ball with five-tenths of a second left, OC turned the ball over without inbounding, but Briannah Matthews missed a tough shot from underneath the basket at the buzzer.
The Falcons jumped ahead 65-61 in overtime, but O’Steen answered with an 8-foot jumper for OC, then Hill followed with a 3-pointer to put the Lady Eagles ahead 66-65, pumping her fist as the ball went through the net.
King gave UTPB its last lead with 1:46 left. O’Steen tied the game with a free throw with 1:33 left, then Hill scored from underneath the basket with 57 seconds left to put OC ahead 69-67. After King missed a 3-point attempt and Matthews missed a follow shot at the other end, the Falcons had to start fouling.
Andee Wayne, Hill, O’Steen and Logan McKee each hit a pair of free throws in the final 43.3 seconds to seal the win for OC.
Hill’s 29 points were the most by an OC player this season. She finished 11-of-20 from the field and added six steals, four assists and three rebounds. She shattered her previous career high of 19 points, set in the season opener in a win over Oklahoma Wesleyan.
“Sydney Hill played out of this world,” Findley said. “She is becoming a seasoned point guard.”
OC forward Roz Hamilton added her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Lady Eagles post a 51-45 edge on the boards against the physical Falcons.
“Katy O’Steen and Roz continue to play well and give great effort, which sets the tone for the team,” Findley said. “And Andee Wayne has come on lately to give us added inside scoring.”
UTPB, which went 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half to build its double-digit lead, went 0-of-5 from behind the arc after that. Taniqua Ards, the conference’s leading scorer, led the Falcons with 20 points, while King had 14 points and nine rebounds. Giselle Loya added 11 points and Matthews had eight points and 12 rebounds.
OC will learn late Tuesday who its opponent will be in the National Christian College Athletic Association Central Region tournament, which will begin Thursday at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville.