From OBU Sports Info.
Casady Fletcher, Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations

INDEPENDENCE, Mo – Oklahoma Baptist came back from a 19-point second half deficit to defeat Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 77-75 in the second round of the 2015 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City.

The Lady Bison (27-5) knocked down five free throws in the final 58 seconds of the game to complete the incredible comeback Friday evening at the Independence Events Center.

Arielle Cooper went two-for-two at the charity stripe with 22 seconds remaining to give the Lady Bison a 76-75 lead after trailing since the 14:05 mark of the first half. OBU caused a turnover on the other end with two seconds remaining to seal the win.

“Going into the second half, we had to execute against their press, still play defensive with the momentum we had going, and execute on the offensive end. We did that, and we hit free throws,” said OBU head coach Casi Bays.

Elisabeth Daniels knocked down the first two shots of the game to give OBU an early 4-0 lead over the Saints (27-7). Late in the first half, OLLU scored 14 unanswered points to take a 39-22 lead.

OBU trailed 43-29 at intermission, and saw that deficit grow to 19 after a made three-pointer extended the Saints lead to 50-31.

A 19-5 run from the Lady Bison saw OBU get as close as 55-50 with 8:11 remaining in regulation. Charity Fowler knocked down baskets to bookend the run, scoring five points over the span. McKenzie Cooper also scored five points during the run.

The Saints were able to stretch their lead to as much as 11 with 6:35 to go, but OBU would not go away. A three-pointer from McKenzie brought the Lady Bison down by two with four minutes remaining. She finished with a team-high 20 points in the win.

Marida Lewis later split a pair of free throws with 58 seconds remaining to pull the Lady Bison down by just two points once again. Lewis knocked in another free throw in the final two seconds after stealing a pass to prevent an OLLU game-winning shot attempt.

Despite a season-high 25 turnovers, OBU was able to outscore the Saints 48-32 in the second half and advance in the tournament.

Three seniors had a huge impact on the game. Daniels ran the offense against a tough full-court press all game, finishing with nine points to go against just one turnover. Fowler had 18 points to go with 13 rebounds, and made eight-of-nine at the free throw line. Lewis finished with 12 points and four steals off the bench.

“It means so much that we can give this to all these seniors that put in so many hours of work on the court and off the court. These underclassmen are getting to experience this depth in this tournament, which I hope will help to continue to grow this OBU women’s program going forward,” said Bays.

OBU will take on fourth-seeded Westmont (Calif.) in the national quarterfinals Saturday, March 21, at 6 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *