College of the Ozarks most definitely came to play on Sunday, capturing the 2017 A.I.I. Conference Tournament Championship by soundly defeating Indiana University Northwest, 83-58.
The game opened with the IUN RedHawks taking a 5-0 lead, before Lady Cat Cass Johnson hit two back-to-back treys. IUN and C of O then exchanged the lead and tied the game three times until the 1:29 mark, when the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to close the first quarter with a 21-16 lead.
The second quarter saw the Lady Cats strike with a vengeance, as they rattled off 27 points to IUN’s 7, thanks to a stellar offensive and defensive effort by College of the Ozarks.
Lady Bobcat Cass Johnson tallied 16 points in the first half, while her teammate Kelsie Cleeton collected 7 rebounds alongside 13 points. C of O headed into the locker room at the half with a 48-23 advantage over IUN.
Lady Cat senior Hannah Wisdom took her turn to score, putting up 12 points in the second half. The Cats outscored IUN 17-13 in the third quarter, and IUN took the fourth quarter 22-18, as head coach Becky Vest emptied her bench.
For the game, the Lady Bobcats had four players in double figures—Cass Johnson (19), Hannah Wisdom (16), Kelsie Cleeton (15) and Lakin Simmerman (11). Kelsie Cleeton doubled up once again, posting 8 offensive and 4 defensive rebounds. Wisdom dished 4 assists, and Simmerman grabbed 2 blocks. Today’s win brings the C of O women’s record to 26-4.
Congratulations go out to Lady Bobcats Hannah Wisdom and Cass Johnson, who were named to the A.I.I. Tournament Team, and to Kelsie Cleeton who received Most Outstanding Player honors.
The Lady Cats’ next trip will take them to the NAIA DII National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa, Mach 8-14, 2017.
Championship picture - Plumlee Photo