Despite working back from a 21-point, first-half deficit, the Oklahoma Christian University women’s basketball team fell 89-84 to the University of Arkansas Fort-Smith on Thursday.
Senior McKenzie Stanford shot 13-24 on the right, scoring a career-high 31 points and pulling in a career-high 18 rebounds, the most by a Heartland Conference player in both categories, while also recording her 5th double-double of the season.
Stanford was not the only Lady Eagle to post a career high as senior Emma Gade put up her career-best 20 points, going 4-6 from the 3-point arc. Senior Sarah Parker also reached a career high after scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
The Lady Eagles recorded a Heartland Conference season record of 31 fouls, which resulted in three of their players fouling out and the Lady Lions shooting 30-45 from the free-throw line.
Oklahoma Christian fell behind early as Arkansas Fort-Smith led 30-17 at the end of the first quarter and then 50-29 with three minutes remaining in the half. They managed to cut the lead down to 53-37 by halftime.
To open the fourth quarter, the Lady Eagles went on a 9-1 run to put themselves up by one, 72-71, on a jumper by Stanford with six minutes remaining in the game.
The Lady Lions responded, however, by scoring the next 10 points to rebuild a 81-72 lead, before another Oklahoma Christian rally brought the Lady Eagles back within a single possession, 84-82.
“We just need that for two complete halves,” Head Coach Stephanie Findley said. “They shot the ball really well, but you’re not going to beat too many teams when they go to the line as much as they did very often.”
The Lady Eagles failed to convert on two key possessions and began to foul their opponents to extend the game. The Lady Lions went 5-6 from the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds to put the game out of reach for the Lady Eagles.
Stanford’s 31-point performance pushed her up one spot on the Oklahoma Christian and Heartland Conference career scoring lists, as her total bumped up to 1,489 points. She is now 9th on the Oklahoma Christian list and 8th on the Heartland career scoring list.
The Lady Eagles will play Heartland Conference foe Rogers State University on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information Office.