OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 9, 2013) – This one was a classic grinder, but Oklahoma Christian is becoming more and more adept at such basketball games.
The Lady Eagles limited St. Edward’s (Texas) to 23.6 percent shooting and salted the game away from the free-throw line en route to a 55-43 win on Saturday afternoon in the Eagles’ Nest.
Katy O’Steen had 14 points and 14 rebounds for OC (14-9), which has won five straight games, its longest streak since starting the 2009-10 season with eight straight wins. All five wins have come against Heartland Conference foes.
OC also held an opponent to less than 50 points for the second time in four games and for the third time this season.
Both teams struggled with their shooting the entire game. OC shot only 32.1 percent (17 of 53) but that was better than the Hilltoppers, who made just 13 of 55 shots. St. Edward’s (11-9) went 13:52 between field goals in one stretch.
Ironically, the Hilltoppers came out hot, making three 3-pointers during the first 4:43 and jumping to an 11-3 lead. The Hilltoppers’ Erika Rousculp was ejected for a flagrant foul on OC’s Roz Hamilton midway through the first half, but St. Edward’s still led 17-15 after a driving layup by Dawn Kiel with 7:44 left in the half.
That was the Hilltoppers’ last basket before halftime. Sydney Hill’s 3-pointer gave OC its first lead and started an 8-0 run that gave the Lady Eagles control of the game. OC led 24-19 at halftime.
“After they started out red-hot, I guess something happened,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “Down there, they just ripped us from the 3-point line and we didn’t want to let that happen again.”
OC built its advantage to 31-22 on a basket by Makenzie Brown with 14:38 left. Valenica White’s 6-foot baseline jumper with 13:52 left ended the Hilltoppers’ long stretch without a field goal and St. Edward’s pulled within 31-29 about a minute later on a 3-pointer by Kelsee Barr.
Hamilton and Hill scored to restore OC’s lead to 35-29 with 8:47 left, and after a 3-pointer by Barr, Hill answered with a three-point play with 7:51 left. She finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
The Lady Eagles made all 13 free throws from that point on to pull away for the double-digit win. OC went 18-of-23 from the line (78.3 percent), compared to 11-of-25 for St. Edward’s (73.3 percent).
“It was so physical,” Findley said. “They do a good job of scouting you and taking you out of your plays and where you want to do. We just couldn’t get into a rhythm. But I appreciate that the girls were able to fight through the physicality, knock down some free throws and close it out.”
OC will be off for the next 10 days before visiting Texas A&M International – the last team to beat the Lady Eagles.
“We’ll take this break and relish these five wins in a row and see how we got there and then see what we can polish on offense and maybe add to our offense,” Findley said. “People have played us twice now and scouted us twice. It’s time to probably add some new things. We’ll take the time to do that.”