The third quarter proved to be the deciding factor in the Oklahoma Christian University women’s basketball team’s debut in the Heartland Conference tournament. The fifth-seeded Lady Rattlers of St. Mary’s University managed the upset, holding off the fourth-seed Lady Eagles 88-84 in the tournament’s quarterfinals at Tulsa’ Union Multipurpose Activity Center on Thursday.
Prior to game day, four Lady Eagles were named to the All-Heartland Team on Wednesday. Addie Clift was named the league’s freshman of the year, while Stanford and Parker each received second-team honors. Hill took honorable mention for the third straight year. Parker was also named co-newcomer of the year for the Heartland Conference.
This was the first year Oklahoma Christian had individual award winners since its entry into the league in 2012.
“It was a great feeling to finally be in the conference tournament,” Stanford said. “We had a great season this year, although we wish we could have made it a little further.”
The Lady Eagles took the lead in the first quarter and held it throughout the first half. A 10-0 run posted by Oklahoma Christian in the second quarter gave it the lead into halftime, ahead of the Lady Rattlers 41-35.
A St. Mary’s rally brought a lead change in the third quarter, however, putting the Lady Rattlers up 65-57 as the teams entered the fourth quarter.
The Lady Eagles managed to close the gap in the forth quarter, but fell short of the win. McKenzie Stanford’s jumper with 18 seconds on the clock cut STMU’s lead to three, and a 3-pointer by Sydney Hill with six seconds left kept the Lady Eagles within one point of the Lady Rattlers.
Despite the Lady Eagle’s last-second rally, a second-chance shot opportunity allowed the Lady Rattlers to hold off the Oklahoma Christian advance until the buzzer sounded.
Stanford and Hill finished the game with 20 points apiece, while Parker added 18. Stanford and Hill also supplied eight rebounds each for the Lady Eagles.
Oklahoma Christian was outrebounded by the Lady Rattlers 48-30, yet outshot St. Mary’s, going 32-60 from the field.
The Lady Eagles completed their first full season as part of NCAA’s Division II with a record of 14-15.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.