The College of the Ozarks women’s basketball team improved to 19-4 on the season with a win Wednesday night over Southwestern College (Kan.) by a score of 92-51.
The Lady Bobcats pounced quickly on the Lady Builders after back-to-back buckets by Abby Oliver. Oliver scored seven of her 12 points in the first quarter alone. Fellow senior Aleksei Smith played the role of distributor, logging five of her game high seven assists in the first quarter, finding Annie Noah on a late screen and role to put the Lady Cats up 29-14 at the end of one quarter.
In the second quarter, C of O continued to exploit Southwestern on the inside, as Annie Noah dominated the paint. Noah scored 14 of her game high 23 points in the first half. For the game, Annie finished with game highs in rebounds and blocks with 11 and four respectively.
At the half, C of O led Southwestern, 44-24. Despite struggling from distance (3 for 15), the Lady Cats shot a respectable 18 for 40 (45%) from the field. The slight dip in their typical offense was easily compensated by a defense that held the Lady Builders to just 8 for 31 (25.8%) from the field before the break.
C of O opened the second half with the same recipe, as Aleksei Smith connected a sweet bounce pass to Annie Noah for two. The Lady Bobcats would quickly build their lead to 30 points, getting everyone involved. All eleven Lady Bobcats were again able to log significant time and score in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Kayley Frank would take one of her five rebounds the length of the floor and find Harper Little on the opposite wing for a deep three-pointer to get things fired back up. Frank would also chip in nine points and a trio of assists for the game. While the Lady Bobcats would shoot slightly better from distance in the second half, it was the paint where C of O did most of their damage, tallying nearly half their points. Mid-way through the quarter, Frank would score a layup to push the Lady Bobcat lead to 40 points, which took any remaining wind out of the Lady Builders’ sails.
"I'm very pleased with our performance tonight," Head Coach Becky Mullis said. "We set the tone early on the defensive end, paying specific attention to our one on one defense, rotation against their dribble drive offense and rebounding the basketball. On the offensive end, we looked to pound it inside and capitalize on how well Annie and Grace are playing. They finished well and it opened up looks for our guards. We took care of the basketball and out rebounded Southwestern, which were points of emphasis heading into the game."
In the end, C of O would win 92-51. In all, the Lady Bobcats shot 35 for 79 (44.3%) from the field and held Southwestern to 18 for 63 (28.6%). C of O forced 14 Lady Builder turnovers and conquered the rebounding battle 56-34. The Lady Bobcat bench outscored Southwestern’s bench, 43-14.
Other notable statistics include Michele Gabani scoring nine points, three rebounds, and two assists. Kyra Hardesty scored five points to go along with four assists and a steal. Julie Stone scored seven points, grabbed five boards, and swiped three steals. Forrest scored six points and four rebounds. Wersinger notched five points and five rebounds. Steiger finished with seven points, three rebounds, and a pair of blocks.
For more statistics, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/u2s26uc
The College of the Ozarks men’s and women’s basketball teams return to action February 1 at home. The Bobcats and Lady Bobcats will take on Haskell Indian Nations University at 3 PM and 5 PM.