Day two of the Fairfield Inn Bellevue Bruins Classic featured College of the Ozarks women and the host Bellevue University, who received votes in the latest poll. The Bruins looked to avenge their mid-November loss during the Coke Classic to the Lady Cats. However, it was the Lady Bobcats who picked up the win, 73-63.
Both teams started the game cold from the field, with CofO leading after one quarter 18-9. CofO shot 38% from the field, while Bellevue managed just 25%. The Bruins heated up in the second quarter, shooting 47% from the field and outscored the Lady Cats 21-13. CofO struggled offensively in the quarter (28% FG), but still led by one at halftime 31-30. On the half, CofO held a 25-20 rebounding advantage. The Lady Cats had an uncharacteristic eight first-half turnovers and forced six of their own.
Bellevue stayed hot in the second half, shooting well over 50% from the field and captured their biggest lead of the game (three points) midway through the third quarter. CofO remained steady and tied the game at 48 headed into the fourth quarter. The Lady Cats were aided with 54% shooting from the field in the fourth period, along with sinking eight of ten free throws down the stretch. CofO also forced six fourth-quarter turnovers, resulting in nine points.
CofO held Bellevue to 63 points for the game, 18 below the Bruin’s average, for a final score of 73-63. The Lady Cats also finished with a 39-38 rebounding advantage, forced sixteen turnovers, and had just five second-half turnovers of their own for a total of thirteen. CofO continued hot three-point shooting (44%) and held Bellevue to 24%.
Kelsie Cleeton led all scorers with 18 points and pulled down ten rebounds. Madi Brethower hauled in a game-high twelve rebounds. Cleeton was joined in double figures by Aleksei Smith with a season-high 17 points, and Cass Johnson and Abby Oliver with ten apiece. Brethower led the Lady Cats with five assists. Cleeton grabbed four steals, including a clutch takeaway in the last minute to seal the victory.
"It was a great team victory for us and a solid weekend against two quality opponents," stated Head Coach Becky Mullis, referring to Saturday's game versus Bellevue and their win over #15 Hastings College on Friday.
CofO will be off next week and continue their stretch of road games at Cottey College on January 8th.