OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 3, 2013) – The old basketball saying goes something like this: “The only way out of a shooting slump is to keep shooting.”
OC’s Krista Stevens proved the axiom true Thursday night. She ended a two-game 0-fer slump from the field by draining a 3-pointer with :04 left, lifting the Lady Eagles to a 73-71 win over Newman (Kan.) in the Eagles’ Nest.
Logan McKee poured in a career-high 20 points on 6-of-12 3-point shooting for OC (8-6), which extended its winning streak to four games despite blowing a 14-point halftime lead.
“We were shooting ourselves in the foot,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “We couldn’t get organized. We couldn’t run things the way we wanted. They were switching up defenses on us and we weren’t doing a good job of reading the defense and running things accordingly. But we were able to pull it out, and that’s what’s important.”
OC looked to be close to a runaway, up 58-44 after a steal and layup by Aisha Martin with 10:54 left. The Lady Eagles still led 70-61 with 3:17 left, but Newman (5-8) scored the next 10 points. Kianna Flannagan hit two 3-pointers during that rally and Chynna Ramelb put the Jets ahead 71-70 by making two free throws with 19.6 seconds left.
The Lady Eagles held the ball for a final shot. With the clock running down, Katy O’Steen found herself triple-teamed in the lane and found Stevens outside the 3-point line. Stevens sidestepped a defender and fired, pumping her fist after the ball went through the net.
After two Newman timeouts, Ramelb missed a well-guarded 3-point attempt from about 30 feet at the buzzer.
“We were due, and Krista was due,” Findley said. “Everybody goes through slumps, but you’ve got to keep shooting.”
It was OC’s first home game as a member of the Heartland Conference after more than three decades as a Sooner Athletic Conference member, a fact not lost on Findley or her team.
“That’s what we talked about before the game,” Findley said. “We talked about this being a new conference and what are we going to step out on our home court and say to people? This game was kind of a statement that we deserve to be here and we’re going to fight you until the end. That’s kind of the way the game went. We just had to keep fighting.”
McKee, a sophomore guard, matched her previous career high of 17 points, set against Oklahoma Baptist last season, by halftime, helping the Lady Eagles take a 36-28 lead into the locker room.
McKee didn’t score again after hitting her sixth 3-pointer with 16:52 left, but as the Jets clamped down on her, that opened up the inside for Katy O’Steen and Roz Hamilton. O’Steen finished with 17 points while Hamilton had 12 points and eight rebounds, helping OC post a 40-35 advantage on the boards. Freshman guard Sydney Hill added nine rebounds and three steals.
Another freshman, Daisha Gonzaque, went 6-for-7 from the field and scored 15 points for the Lady Eagles.
Flannagan led Newman with 19 points. Ramelb scored 11, while Alexandra Ciabattoni and Tyahnna Higgs added 10 each for the Jets.
OC will host Heartland foe Arkansas-Fort Smith on Saturday afternoon.