O’Steen, Middle last call

The Oklahoma Christian University women’s basketball team swept their final set of regular season opponents last weekend at home.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Lady Eagles handed Oklahoma Panhandle State University a 43-point loss, 86-43. The first time the Lady Eagles faced the Aggies in November, they won by just six points. Head women’s basketball coach Stephanie Findley said last Thursday’s game perfectly displayed her team’s progress.

“This entire season has been one of growth,” Findley said. “Last time we played OPSU, we struggled. But within the first few minutes of Thursday’s game, everyone in the gym could tell we were a different team.”

Five of the Lady Eagles scored in double figures during Thursday’s matchup. Senior Katy O’Steen led the way with 17 points, shooting eight of 11 from the field.

“As a coach, you can’t ask for a better game scoring-wise,” Findley said. “That’s the team you want to see heading into post-season play.”

Saturday, March 2, Oklahoma Christian had a much more difficult matchup against the University of Texas-Permian Basin Falcons.

Until facing the Lady Eagles, Texas-Permian Basin had looked to extend their 13-game winning streak – but the Lady Eagles were seeking redemption from their double-overtime loss to the Falcons earlier this season.

And that is exactly what the Lady Eagles got. They snapped Texas-Permian Basin’s winning streak in an overtime victory, 77-71.

Freshman Sydney Hill led Oklahoma Christian with 29 points. Hill scored 25 of her points in the second half, including a crucial 3-pointer in overtime.

“Having Syd step up and hit big shots for us, playing the best she’s ever played, created an intensity for the rest of the team to want to play up to her level,” O’Steen said.

O’Steen and Middle said beating Texas-Permian Basin was a great way to close out their home court careers at Oklahoma Christian. However, the Lady Eagles’ senior night victory was still bittersweet.

“We will really miss their leadership on and off the court,” Findley said. “They both have very positive outlooks on life, and it is infectious.”

After graduation, O’Steen and Middle both plan on moving to Texas. O’Steen will start working towards a teaching job, and Middle will go on as a sales representative for Five Star Orthodontics.

“Saying goodbye to our seniors is always hard on senior night,” Findley said. “But they are still staying focused on finishing this season strong heading into regionals.”

The Lady Eagles are currently playing in the NCCAA Central Region tournament in Bartlesville, Okla. for an opportunity to go to the conference’s national tournament in Indiana on March 13.

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