Lady Eagles solve shooting woes, beat UTPB for initial conference win

Roz Hamilton went 7 of 7 from the field and scored 18 points on Monday in OC's win over Texas-Permian Basin.
Roz Hamilton went 7 of 7 from the field and scored 18 points on Monday in OC's win over Texas-Permian Basin.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 16, 2013) – Whatever shooting funk Oklahoma Christian had been stuck in, the Lady Eagles found the solution on Monday afternoon against Texas-Permian Basin.

OC shot a season-high 58.5 percent from the field and never trailed en route to a 93-66 win over the Falcons in the Eagles’ Nest. Roz Hamilton led the way for OC (5-5, 1-3 Heartland Conference) with 18 points on a perfect 7 for 7 shooting performance.

Andee Wayne had a season-high 13 points and seven rebounds, Emma Gade added 13 points and six rebounds and Krista Stevens had 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals as the Lady Eagles received contributions from all over the court.

The Lady Eagles hit 31 of their 53 shots, including 7 of 17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point range, and recorded assists on 20 baskets. Six different Lady Eagles made at least one 3-pointer – Gade, Stevens, Jasmine  Hinton, Sydney Hill, Talor Ward and Daisha Gonzaque.

“You don’t know how happy I am to see that 58.5 (percent),” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “We’ve been struggling from the field. This is a team I thought was capable of (shooting like) that. Now we need to remember how we did it over the Christmas break and come back shooting like that.

“I think so many games on the road early got us in a bad way as far as our shooting. … I think just being on the road, and road-weary, causes you to do that sometimes with your shooting. Today was a good day for us to find it and have a good feeling about ourselves going into the break.”

UTPB (2-7, 1-4) won the Heartland regular-season title last season but the Falcons went just 3 of 19 from 3-point range (15.8 percent) and 23 of 74 from the field (31.1 percent) on Monday.

Hamilton scored eight points in a 20-7 run by the Lady Eagles to open the game. Findley was particularly happy to see that performance from Hamilton, who had seven points combined in OC’s two most recent games before Monday.

“She’s really been having a rough time,” Findley said. “It seems like she’s getting great shots and great looks and they look like they’re going in and then they roll out. She’s been having tough luck lately so it’s good to see her bounce back. She’s one of our leaders we look to for that.”

Gade hit three straight baskets midway through the first half to turn an nine-point OC lead into a 27-11 bulge. Then Wayne took over, scoring five straight points in a 7-0 run by the Lady Eagles that made it 37-15. OC led 42-23 at halftime.

The Falcons came no closer than 13 points in the second half. UTPB was within 58-40 after a basket by Valerie Barriga with 12:26 left but a 3-pointer by Gade started an 18-4 spurt by OC that ended all doubt.

Katreese Locket led UTPB with 14 points. Barriga added 13 points and Tori Cooks had 10.

OC opened its conference season with games against the three teams atop the league standings – St. Mary’s (Texas), Texas A&M International and Lubbock Christian (Texas), who entered Monday 11-0 in league play and 24-4 overall. Findley said it was important to finish the first semester with a conference win.

“We were very discouraged (after losing to Lubbock Christian on Saturday) because of the (poor) shooting percentage,” she said. “This just turns that feeling around for you. It validates what you’ve been doing in practice and gives us some energy going into the break to feel good about ourselves.”