The Moore American
MOORE — American Staff
The No. 1-seeded Oklahoma Christian University Lady Eagles pulled away late in the first half and went on to an 83-73 win over the third-seeded Mid-America Christian University Lady Evangels in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Central Regional championship game Saturday afternoon (Mar. 15) at the Eagles’ Nest on the campus of Oklahoma Christian in Oklahoma City.
The loss ends the Lady Evangels’ season, as they were the first team eliminated from at-large consideration to the NCCAA National Tournament.
The Lady Evangels (18-14) led early in the first half 21-18 when the Lady Eagles scored seven straight to take a four-point lead.
After consecutive buckets from Lauren McKinney tied the score at 25-25, the Lady Eagles made their move with a 10-2 run to lead 35-27 at the 2:55 mark of the first half.
The Lady Eagles continued to pull away and stretched the lead to 40-29 on a three by Krista Stevens and went on to lead 42-33 at the break.
Roz Hamilton helped the Lady Eagles gain more separation by scoring the first six points of the second half to expand the OC lead to 15 with 17:52 left.
The Lady Evangels tried to fight back as threes by Cheyenne Been and Maclayn Massey cut the deficit to 53-44.
But OC had an answer and used a 9-2 spurt that was capped by a three-point play by McKenzie Stanford for their biggest lead to that point of 62-46 at the 10:15 mark.
The Lady Eagles led by as much as 17 and was still up by 16 when the Lady Evangels made one final push when two treys from Ashlee Ferguson fueled an 8-0 spurt that drew MACU to within 75-67 with 1:41 remaining.
A layup by Been with 42 seconds left brought the Lady Evangels within seven, but the Lady Eagles made 3-of-4 at the charity stripe from that point to hold on for the win.
McKinney and Ferguson each led the Lady Evangels with 15 points, with McKinney also recording a game-high 12 rebounds. Been and Tierra Brown each scored 13.
Hamilton led five Lady Eagles in double-figure scoring with 19 points and a team-high 11 boards, followed by Stanford’s 16 points.
A big key to the Lady Eagles’ win was their performance at the free-throw line, where OC hit 26-of-31 free-throws compared to the Lady Evangels’ 11 makes in 18 attempts at the charity stripe.
The Lady Evangels’ 2013-14 campaign proved to be a historic one in head coach Marcus Moeller’s first season at the helm. MACU won its most conference games (11) since joining the NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference and the 18 victories overall is the most as an NAIA school.
Individually, Ashlee Ferguson set a single-season record for scoring (533) and threes (98) as an NAIA school this year. Ferguson also scored the most points in a game (40) since joining the NAIA.
Also, Cheyenne Been’s 67 treys on the season are now the second most.