OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 8, 2012) – It wasn’t just that the Oklahoma Christian beat Southern Nazarene on Saturday. It was that the Lady Eagles dominated a team that’s been their longtime nemesis and had beaten them 13 straight times.
Picking up contributions from all over the court, OC harassed the Crimson Storm into 31 turnovers and led by double digits for the final 18:56 en route to a 76-59 win in the Eagles’ Nest.
Katy O’Steen scored 13 points to lead OC (5-6), which beat SNU (3-5) for the first time since Feb. 12, 2007 – six seasons ago. SNU, which had won 45 of its last 54 meetings with the Lady Eagles – including a five-point decision in Bethany earlier this season – led for all of 26 seconds and never made a serious run in the second half.
“It’s good all the way around,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “The guards played well. They followed the defensive game plan pretty well. We rebounded the ball pretty well tonight. We were getting tips and trying to tip it to each other when we could, because they’re so big.”
Findley scrapped her team’s usual up-tempo, high-pressure style for a more traditional system that still emphasized defense while allowing O’Steen to play a season-high 31 minutes. Instead of using 16 players – as she’s done in most games this season – she shortened her bench, with 11 players seeing action. All of them scored.
Freshman Daisha Gonzaque scored 10 points, as did Roz Hamilton, who added four steals, three assists and six rebounds – team highs in all those categories. OC outrebounded the Crimson Storm 42-41.
Logan McKee went 3-of-6 from 3-point range and scored nine points for OC.
SNU’s only lead came after consecutive 3-pointers by Kristin Milster, which put the Crimson Storm up 16-15 with 10:13 left in the first half. Moments later, O’Steen started a 10-0 run for the Lady Eagles that included a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer by freshman Sydney Hill.
OC led 41-33 at halftime. SNU scored the opening basket of the second half, but OC answered with a 6-0 spurt and the Crimson Storm came no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
“It kept them off balance that we weren’t pressing the whole time,” Findley said.
SNU shot 42.6 percent from the field (26 of 61). Oumoul Thiam, who had 31 points in the first meeting between the teams this season, had 14 on Saturday. Milster also scored 14 points, while Annie Kassongo had 10 points.
Findley hopes a good win against a quality foe will reverse the fortunes of her team, which had lost six of its previous seven games before Saturday.
“SNU isn’t the same as they have been, but still, it’s a good win,” Findley said. “It proves something to us. Hopefully it’s a big confidence builder after losing these close games that we’ve lost recently.”
OC will be off until next Saturday, when the Lady Eagles host Tabor (Kan.).