Cameron women win thriller in season opener

Cameron Sports
Kenton Means, Sports Information Director

WICHITA FALLS, Texas – The Cameron University women’s basketball team opened their season with a wild 96-94 win in which Parfitt McNair hit a pair of free throws with less than one second left to take down Oklahoma Christian on Friday afternoon.

Cameron entered the final quarter with a 14 point lead, but a pair of 8-0 runs by the Eagles got them to within one point with just over a minute left. A pair of free throws by OC’s Carolyne Lawley put her team up by one with just 35 tics left on the clock. Down by one, the Aggies got the ball back with 16 seconds left and after grabbing her 19th rebound of the contest Lejha Smith put CU back up by one with just five seconds. After a timeout, OC got to move the ball up and Lawley made a shot to take back the lead, giving Cameron the ball back with just three seconds left. The Aggies got the ball in and after a couple passes McNair threw up a shot that missed the rim, but play had stopped with 0.4 seconds left as OC sent her to the line where she sunk both of her free throws to secure the win.

The two teams traded blows throughout the first quarter with both teams shooting over 60 percent from the field through the first 10 minutes. CU took the lead and extended it to seven on an Andrea Martinez three pointer at the 2:16 mark. The Eagles came back and cut the lead to just one point, but Martinez got fouled on a three point shot and made all of the ensuing free throws to give the Aggies a four point cushion at the quarter break.

After a pair of threes to start the second quarter, Cameron went cold, shooting just 32 percent to close out the half. OC stayed hot and took back the lead and extended it to five at the 2:11 mark, but the Aggies came back strong in the final two minutes of the quarter, as Jamie Bonnarens scored five points in the final 1:06 to tie the game at 51 going into halftime.

Ava Battese led all scorers with 14 points, going 4-7 from deep in the first 20 minutes. Martinez and Amaka Nwakamma each had 12 points while CU as a team shot 44 percent from the field and the Eagles shot 62 percent, with Addy Clift led them with 10 points at the break.

Cameron started the second half on a seven point run and never looked back, holding onto that lead and then extending it to nine halfway through the third. The Aggies outscored Oklahoma Christian 27-13 in the third to hold a 14 point lead going into the final quarter, where Cameron hung on to get the win in the final seconds of play.

Battese finished the game with 20 points, going 6-12 from deep, while Smith had a double-double with 12 points, six blocks, and her 19 rebounds. The junior transfer’s nine offensive boards and 10 defensive boards totaled the most rebounds by an Aggie since 2014. Additionally, Nwakamma finished just shy of a triple-double with 16 points, nine assists, and seven boards, and Bonnarens added 17 points and Martinez finished with 14.

Cameron got 39 points from off the bench and 20 off of turnovers while shooting 38 percent from the field, 31 percent from three and 64.5 from the charity stripe.

Oklahoma Christian was led by Megan Shelton, who had 21 points, 14 in the second half, and Clift who finished with 17. They shot 51.5 percent from the field and went 7-12 from long range.

The Aggies will be back in action in Wichita Falls on Saturday, as they conclude their opening weekend against Colorado Mesa with first tip scheduled for 2 p.m.