OBU women’s hoops falls short in season opener

SHAWNEE – The Oklahoma Baptist women’s basketball team put together a tremendous effort against the defending Great American Conference champions, but ultimately fell short, falling 61-56 on Thursday evening inside the Noble Complex.

The Bison shot 19 of 51 (37%) from the field, but were over 40 percent in the second half after a tough run in the first. OBU was only 4 of 18 (22%) from deep, but got to the line 16 times and shot 88 percent.

OBU held Southeastern to 22 of 53 (42%) from the field, but the Savage Storm connected on 11 three-pointers, going 42 percent from beyond the arc. Southeastern was 6 of 10 at the line and the Bison forced Southeastern into 21 turnovers. 

It was a slow start out of the gate for both teams as the Bison could not get into the scoring column until five minutes into the contest when Jaylin Stapleton connected on a floater. Stapleton followed with back-to-back buckets to tie the game at six with under three to play in the quarter.

OBU could not buy a shot in the first half as they trailed by as many as 13 in the second quarter. The Bison scored five straight points to end the half thanks to a three-pointer from Malou Savanna and a jumper from Stapleton to make it a 31-23 game going into the break, swinging momentum in the favor of the home team.

The Bison came out hot in the third quarter with buckets from Jenni Beebe and Charissa Price to cut the game to 31-27. OBU got a huge boost from 6-5 freshman Haylee Webber off the bench as she made a number of impact plays on the defensive end in the second half.

Southeastern was able to build the lead back to 41-34 before the Bison scored six straight on baskets from Kaylee HurstMelissa Southard, and River Romine to cut the game to one. Southeastern responded with a three-pointer while OBU closed the quarter with a free throw from Southard to trail 44-41 going into the fourth.

Oklahoma Baptist got it down to two points on three separate occasions in the fourth, getting as close as one point on two separate occasions, but the Savage Storm found an answer each time. 

Trailing by five with two minutes to play, Hurst connected on a lay-in, followed by a steal and free throws from Price, to cut it to a one point game. The Bison got a turnover and had possession with less than 30 seconds to play, but back-to-back offensive fouls against OBU were too much to overcome as Southeastern escaped with a 61-56 victory.

Stapleton left the game early with an injury and was on pace for a huge game as she finished with 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting to go with two assists. Price added 11 points to go with three boards, two assists, and three steals, while Webber had four points to go with three rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

Jordan Benson paced Southeastern with 13 points, five assists, and two steals, while Grace Alverson added 11 points.

The Bison return to action on Saturday as they head to Alva to take on Northwestern Oklahoma State. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. on the Bison Sports Network.