OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 3, 2012) – If Saturday’s game was any indication, it’s going to be a wild ride for the Oklahoma Christian Lady Eagles this season.
OC led at halftime, gave up a 20-0 second-half run to fall behind by 17 points with 8:51 left, then rallied for an 87-84 win over Oklahoma Wesleyan in the season opener in the Eagles’ Nest.
Senior Katy O’Steen had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and freshman Sydney Hill scored 19 points in her collegiate debut for OC (1-0), which wore down OWU (0-1) with its full-court, high-energy style of play.
“That’s kind of how this deal works – you get points in bunches,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “You can’t give up. You keep plugging and it will happen. We’ll get better at it, more consistent at it.”
OC shot just 34.6 percent from the field (27 of 78), but forced OWU into 22 turnovers. OWU stayed in the game thanks to the scoring of sisters Megan Jones (26 points) and Delaney Jones (14 points), who combined to go 9-of-11 from 3-point range. Megan Jones also had 12 rebounds.
“You’d like to beat everybody by 30,” Findley said. “I think you could tell we were very tired from the Thursday night (exhibition) game (at Oklahoma), so we kind of modified it at halftime to try to and let Katy O and Roz have some rest. We’re all learning at this, as am I, how to make adjustments during the game with what you want to do.”
The Lady Eagles appeared ready to run away with the game early, jumping to a 20-11 lead, but they needed a 3-pointer by Logan McKee in the final 30 seconds of the half to go ahead 36-33 at intermission.
An 8-0 run gave OC a 51-48 lead with 13:22 left, but the Lady Eagles went the next 4:45 without a basket and OWU started rolling on offense, scoring the next 20 points. A three-point play by Jordan Griffith put OWU ahead 68-51 with 8:51 left. Through all that run, Findley didn’t call a timeout.
“I kept thinking, surely we’d hit shots at some point,” she said.
Talor Ward finally broke the drought with a basket and O’Steen followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws. McKee hit a 3-pointer off a steal, then another steal led to a layup for Hill. That fast, OC had put together a 10-1 run in 62 seconds, pulling within 68-63.
A 3-pointer by Roz Hamilton tied the game at 72-72 with 5:35 left and a four-point play by freshman Jasmine Hinton put the Lady Eagles up for good at 76-73 4:34 left.
With that rally, “your confidence builds and it makes it a little bit easier to shoot those shots, because the momentum is with you and it makes them hesitate a little bit,” Findley said.
OWU had a chance to tie in the final seconds, trailing 87-84, but proved unable to get off a shot during the final 20.2 seconds.
McKee added 11 points and five assists for OC, while Madison Middle – seeing her first game action after missing all last season with a knee injury – scored nine points. Nichole Tate had 21 points and 11 rebounds for OWU.