College of the Ozarks Lady Cats finished the Indiana University Northwest A.I.I. Classic with a victory over Rochester (MI) 71-50 to go to 18-3 on the season and 4-0 in A.I.I. play.
Rochester hung tough with the Lady Cats for much of the first half, but CofO stretched the lead to 11, 37-26 at the half. They held Rochester to just 28% shooting and forced seven first-half turnovers, while shooting 41% and had just two turnovers of their own. Hannah Wisdom (Skyline) and Lakin Simmerman (Ash Grove) led with nine points each. CofO held a halftime rebound advantage 25-22.
The second half saw the lead shrink to as many as five before the Lady Cats went on a third quarter run, triggered by back-to-back-to-back three-point baskets by Cass Johnson (West Plains). CofO never looked back as they turned up the defensive pressure, forcing 14 second-half turnovers and out-rebounding Rochester 45-39 for the game. Rochester shot just 31% from the field and were held nine under their average of 59.6 ppg. Meanwhile, CofO shot 40% from the field and 48% from the three-point line.
Johnson led all scorers with 18 points, going 6-for-6 from behind the arc. Wisdom, Simmerman, and Kelsie Cleeton (Hillcrest) each had 9. Simmerman and Maison Bovard (Ava) had 7 rebounds, while Brandy Uchtman (Fordland) finished with 5. CofO had twenty assists on 27 made shots, led by Shelby Roberts' 7. Simmerman finished her strong day with three blocked shots. Cleeton tallied four steals, while Johnson and Roberts each had three.
The Lady Cats head to Kansas and Nebraska next weekend to face Central Christian College and York College in A.I.I. play.