College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats continued their week-long home stretch by hosting the CofO/A.I.I. Classic. The Lady Cats took on the Northern New Mexico College Lady Eagles on Friday evening and came away with a 70-34 win.
Both the Lady Bobcats and Lady Eagles started the game ice cold from the field, shooting 27% and 29% respectively. Despite a bevy of field goal misses by both teams, C of O finished the first quarter with a 17-5 lead fueled by nine Lady Eagle turnovers.
Shooting struggles for the Lady Bobcats increased in the second quarter, as they finished the first half shooting just 19%. Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles began to find their stroke, improving to 43% for the second quarter, aided by a pair of Jazlynn Muniz steals converted to three-point baskets. NNMC closed the C of O lead to just 24-21 going into halftime.
Coach Mullis’ halftime adjustments included ratcheting up the defensive pressure, as the Lady Cats opened the second-half pressing full-court. The team effort forced 13 NNM turnovers in the third quarter alone. The Lady Eagles turnover woes limited them to just five points for the third frame, with C of O countering 27 to extend their lead to 51-26. The Lady Cats did not let up in the fourth, finishing the game with a 70-34 win.
Kelsie Cleeton led all scorers and rebounders with 15 and 12 respectively for yet another double-double. Abby Oliver and Madi Brethower finished with 10 points each. Aleksei Smith led all players with seven assists and three steals. Due largely to the second-half pressure, six C of O Lady Cats finished with two or more steals.
The Lady Cats shot 33.3% from the field and 25.7% from beyond the arc, while draining 13-of-14 shots from the free-throw line. NNMC shot 32.5% from the field, 26.3% from three, and went 3-5 at the charity stripe. The Lady Bobcats dished 20 assists on the night and collected 48 rebounds compared to five assists and 28 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.
The win improves the Lady Cats record to 17 wins and 3 losses on the season.
The Lady Bobcats play their second and final game of the CofO/A.I.I. Classic on Saturday at 5 PM against Crowley’s Ridge College.