OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 27, 2012) – Oklahoma Christian has closed the gap on Lubbock Christian (Texas) from last season, but not quite enough to overcome a poor shooting outing and still keep the game close.
LCU, ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division I women’s basketball after reaching the national semifinals last season, jumped to a double-digit lead in the first 3:06 and never looked back en route to a 96-74 win over OC on Tuesday in the Eagles’ Nest.
LCU (10-0) had six players score in double figures, led by 21 points from Kelsey Hoppel and 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds from Nicole Hampton.
Katy O’Steen scored 16 points to lead OC (3-3), which is facing its most challenging week of the young season. After hosting LCU, the Lady Eagles face a three-games-in-three-days road trip, playing at Oklahoma Panhandle State on Thursday, LCU on Friday and Texas-Permian Basin on Saturday.
“Lubbock Christian is a very good team,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “They are balanced inside and out. We dug ourselves a hole with some paltry shooting and couldn’t recover.”
OC struggled from the field in the opening minutes, allowing the Lady Chaparrals to take an early 11-0 lead. LCU never quite pulled away, but the Lady Eagles never really cut much into the deficit, either, for most of the rest of the game.
The Chaparrals led 50-36 at halftime. OC pulled within 11 points on three occasions early in the second half, the last time at 55-44 on a 3-pointer by O’Steen with 16:47 left. LCU went on a 14-4 run to answer, though, and led 69-48 after a 3-pointer by Hoppel with 12:09 left.
The Lady Eagles came no closer than 17 points after that. LCU led by as many as 26 points in the final minutes.
OC shot 29.6 percent from the field (21 of 71) and 20 percent from 3-point range (7 of 35), while LCU shot 48.1 percent (37 of 77) from the field and 45.8 percent (11 of 24) from behind the arc. Hoppel went 5-of-8 from 3-point range while Haley Burton was 3-of-7. Burton scored 15 points for LCU, while Kelsey Canavan had 12 and Courtney Wilson and Emily Atkins each scored 11.
Besides O’Steen, the only Lady Eagles in double figures were Roz Hamilton with 13 points and freshman Daisha Gonzaque, who scored 10 points.
LCU and OC shared the same conference – the Sooner Athletic – from the mid-1990s until the end of the 2011-12 season, and LCU will join OC again next season in the Heartland Conference as both universities move through the NCAA Division II membership process. Tuesday’s game marked the first nonconference meeting between the sister institutions since December 1979.