Teri LaJeunese, Sports Information Director
ADA – The East Central University women’s basketball team accomplished what no other Great American Conference team has been able to do during the 2017-18 season, defeating No. 5/7 Southwestern Oklahoma State, 76-66, at the Kerr Activities Center.
The Tigers (9-14, 9-11 GAC) were led by senior Devon Branch, with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Junior Tia Williams added 15 points, junior Lakin Preisner 12 and sophomore Madison Nickens 10.
The Bulldogs (23-2, 18-1 GAC) opened the game on a 5-0 run and kept the advantage around five points through the first five minutes of the stanza. ECU then used a 7-0 run to take the lead for the rest of the quarter (18-16). The Tigers built the lead to eight in the final two minutes and went into the second quarter leading 26-18.
ECU kept up the pressure throughout the second stanza and used a few small runs to increase the advantage to 15 (41-26) in the first six minutes. SWOSU pushed back and used a 10-2 run in the rest of the first half to cut the disadvantage to 43-36 heading into the locker room.
The Bulldogs came out ready to fight in the third quarter, using a 7-2 run in the first three minutes to cut the lead to two (45-43). The Tigers built the lead back to nine in the next two minutes and then to 11 (59-48), with two minutes left on the clock. SWOSU countered with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to five (59-54) heading into the final 10 minutes.
ECU came back strong in the fourth quarter, going on a 10-2 run in the first three minutes to push the lead to 13 (69-56). The teams traded runs over the next five minutes, with the Bulldogs only able to cut the deficit to eight (72-64), with a minute left.
The Tigers kept the advantage at nine or 10 points in the final 60 seconds and secured the win by making their last seven points at the charity stripe on the way to the 76-66 victory.
ECU will now get ready for Rivalry Tuesday in the GAC, traveling to face Southeastern Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in Durant, Okla. The game is the first of three in the final week of the GAC regular-season, with home games against Northwestern Oklahoma State (Feb. 22) and Oklahoma Baptist (Feb. 24).