OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University couldn’t contain the interior play of Oklahoma Baptist and fell to the Lady Bison 77-71 in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at the Abe Lemons Arena.
The Stars, ranked second in NAIA Division I women’s basketball, were saddled with their third loss of the season. This marks OCU’s first defeat at Abe Lemons Arena since Jan. 22, 2009, when Oklahoma Baptist won a 76-64 regular season matchup.
OCU will await their fate that is now in the hands of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Tournament committee. The NAIA national tournament is held March 16-22 at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn.
OCU was led by a pair of 15-point performances by Donica Cosby and Taylor Booze. Booze, a junior from Duncanville, Texas, added a team-high five assists for the Stars. K.J. Johnson, a senior from Portland, Ore., put in 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds for OCU.
The Stars played from behind for the vast majority of the contest and managed their sixth and final tie of the game with 9:42 remaining. A 3-point basket by Booze found its mark after a pass around the arc by Lauren Gober to deadlock the score at 55-55. The Lady Bison extended the lead to 68-61 after Samantha Smith powered in a layup with 4:42 to play.
The Stars cut the Oklahoma Baptist lead back to a one-possession contest with a Gober steal followed by an outlet pass to Booze for a layup with 2:38 on the clock. The Stars could not capitalize in the waning minutes and Oklahoma Baptist held on for the 77-71 win. OCU was 1-of-7 from the field and 1-of-5 from the free throw line in the final two minutes of action.
The game began with a Smith layup that set the early tone for the Lady Bison. Smith finished as the game’s leading scorer with 30 points on 14-of-17 shooting from the field. Oklahoma Baptist outscored the Stars 46-26 in the paint and shot 54.2 percent from the field in the win.
OCU’s last lead of the game came at the 12:13 mark in the second half after Gober’s only successful 3-point basket in 10 attempts put the score at 52-51. The Stars shot 35.9 percent from the field in the contest and hit just 4-of-21 3-point tries in the stinging defeat.
Top-seeded OCU was vying for their fourth consecutive SAC Tournament title this year after winning the regular-season title. In the Stars’ previous two meetings with Oklahoma Baptist this season, OCU won handily with a 93-59 win at home on Jan. 20 followed by a 98-64 road victory on Feb. 19.