Lady Eagles ratchet up defensive pressure in 58-45 win at Newman

Krista Stevens had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists for OC in the win over Newman.
Krista Stevens had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists for OC in the win over Newman.

WICHITA, Kan. (Jan. 31, 2013) – It wasn’t beautiful basketball, but Oklahoma Christian’s ability to get gritty on Thursday night lifted the Lady Eagles to another road win.

Katy O’Steen scored 19 points and Roz Hamilton added 15 – including a pair of clutch second-half three-point plays – as OC led most of the way in beating Newman (Kan.) 58-45 before a pro-OC crowd at Fugate Gymnasium.

OC (11-9) completed a season sweep of Newman (6-13) and ran its all-time record against its new Heartland Conference rival to 5-0. The Lady Eagles forced Newman into 23 turnovers and held the Jets to 37.7 percent shooting from the field (20 of 53).

“We stepped up and played really well,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “The first few minutes we were hitting shots, too, and I thought it would be a great, great night. Then we went cold, but defense carried us through. The girls were really communicating well and moving their feet and working hard.”

Newman had the lowest point output of any OC opponent this season. The Lady Eagles held Evangel (Mo.) to 47 points on Dec. 29.

“I felt like we weren’t playing all that great, but we played defense and we outrebounded them,” Findley said.

Newman led just once, at 2-0. OC never trailed after Krista Stevens – the hero of the Lady Eagles’ earlier win this season over the Jets – nailed the first of her three 3-pointers to make it 5-2. But the Lady Eagles never could quite shake Newman.

A 3-pointer by Logan McKee with 4:45 left in the first half gave OC a commanding 27-12 lead, but the Lady Eagles didn’t score again for almost 6½ minutes. The Jets pulled within 27-20 by halftime and trailed only by five after Alexandra Ciabattoni hit a jumper to open the second half.

Hamilton and O’Steen hit 3-pointers to break the drought and extend the Lady Eagles’ lead to 11, but Newman hung around and trailed only 45-40 after a 3-pointer by Bobbi Coleman with 8:22 left.

A three-point play by Newman’s Kianna Flannagan made it 50-43 with 5:07 left, but the Jets only scored once after that. In the interim, Hamilton turned two offensive rebounds into three-point plays and hit two free throws after that, giving OC a safe 58-43 lead with 3:01 left.

It was OC’s third road win against a Heartland Conference foe this season. The Lady Eagles also have won at Oklahoma Panhandle State and McMurry (Texas). OC will visit Arkansas-Fort Smith on Saturday.

Stevens went 3-of-4 from behind the arc and scored 11 points for OC to go with her seven rebounds and five assists. Hamilton just missed a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds to help the Lady Eagles post a 38-33 edge on the boards. McKee, Kaitlyn Morris and Sydney Hill each had three of OC’s 16 steals.

Flannagan led Newman with 13 points, while Ciabattoni had 12.