From OBU Sports Info.
Casady Fletcher, Assistant Director for Athletic Media Relations
WINONA LAKE, Indiana – Oklahoma Baptist defeated the University of Northwestern 82-77 to claim third place at the NCCAA National Championship Saturday morning at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Sophomore Tasha Edge scored a career high 24 points, knocked down six three-pointers, and grabbed a team-high six rebounds to propel the Lady Bison to a victory. Edge was able to accomplish this despite injuring her shoulder during Thursday’s game against Colorado Christian and playing through obvious discomfort.
The Eagles (23-8) from St. Paul, Minnesota, claimed a 40-37 halftime lead, but OBU turned up the defensive pressure and forced 11 turnovers in the second half. UNW finished with 19 total giveaways, leading to 22 Lady Bison points.
After trailing 64-65 with 6:33 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Lady Bison used a 15-5 run to pull ahead of the Eagles and secure a win in the final game of the season. Monae Smith and Cameerah Graves combined for 11 points during the stretch.
Graves finished with 17 points and six assists before fouling out late in the game, and Smith added eight points to lead all OBU reserves.
“We finished that game to get a win with two freshman and three sophomores on the floor, and I’m super proud of them. These young girls have stepped up when we needed them and it is good experience going into next year,” said Lady Bison head coach Casi Bays.
Edge was named to the All-Tournament team following her efforts in the past three games. “Tasha has had a great second semester performance. She had a left shoulder injury two days ago and she came in here shooting lights out,” remarked Bays.
For the two seniors on the team, Arielle Cooper and Raquel Dudzevich, it was their final game in an OBU jersey. Cooper tallied eight points and four assists, and Dudzevich scored five points after starting for just the second time this season.
The Lady Bison wrap up their first season against NCAA Division II competition with a 17-16 record, and Coach Bays believes the future is bright for her young team.
“I am very happy with what we have coming back. This freshman and sophomore group, and the juniors that will be seniors, it’s definitely something to smile about.”