College of the Ozarks women’s basketball defeated Haskell Indian Nations University (Kan.) in runaway fashion on Saturday, 83-42. With the win, C of O improves to 20-4 on the season.
Lately, the Lady Bobcats have started games with a focus on pounding the ball inside. Saturday was no exception, after winning the tip, a quick pass from Abby Oliver to Annie Noah led to a drop-step bucket.
Haskell quickly adjusted their zone defense to crowd entry passes and double the post, which opened up the Lady Cats guard play. Kyra Hardesty knocked down a set three-pointer from the wing, followed by an Abby Oliver floater to force a Haskell timeout and give C of O an early 7-3 lead.
After the timeout, C of O spread the zone out to free-up passes back to Noah. Hardesty quickly fed the post. After a double-team, Annie kicked it back out for a Kyra Hardesty three-pointer, one of her three triples on the evening. On the subsequent possession, C of O used the same formula. However, Haskell did a better job recovering to Hardesty. A quick reversal pass and a deep bomb from Ashley Forrest gave C of O a 13-5 lead. The shot was the first of five straight makes and a total of 6 for 7 from downtown for Forrest on the evening, giving her a game high 18 points. Before the end of the quarter, Haskell started to show some life, cutting the lead to 19-13.
To start the second quarter, Haskell built some momentum, forcing a C of O turnover due to a shot-clock violation, eventually cutting the lead to one, 19-18. Lady Bobcat Harper Little squelched the run with a steal followed by a three-pointer. Once again, Little impacted the game in a variety of ways off-the-bench, with six points, three steals, and five boards on the night.
To close out the half, Ashley Forrest hit back-to-back trays, giving C of O a 36-22 lead at the break. For the first half, C of O shot 13 for 29 (44.8%) from the field, including 9 for 18 (50%) from distance. Haskell, hindered by solid Lady Bobcat closeouts, managed just 8 for 28 (28.6%) from field goal range.
To open the second half, the Lady Bobcats wasted no time getting back to work. After back-to-back three-pointers from Abby Oliver and Aleksei Smith, the C of O defense forced a Haskell shot clock violation. College of the Ozarks immediately capitalized when Kyra Hardesty drove left and pitched to Ashely Forrest for three. C of O would go on to complete a 17-0 run, breaking the back of Haskell. At the end of third quarter, the Lady Bobcats led 58-27.
In the fourth quarter, Julie Stone took over. Stone, scored on four straight Lady Bobcat possessions, finishing the game with 12 points. Once again, the C of O bench outscored the opposing bench, 36-21. C of O would never look back, finishing the win, 83-42.
For the game, C of O shot 31-63 (49.2%) including a torrid pace from distance, 14 for 28. Much of the offensive efficiency could be a credit to the Lady Bobcat ball movement, as the Cats racked up 22 assists. The Lady Cats grabbed 47 rebounds to 32 Haskell boards. C of O won the turnover battle as well, 17-12.
For more statistics, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/tdr7wld
College of the Ozarks returns to action on the road for a women’s and men’s double-header against Crowley’s Ridge (Ark.) on February 4, beginning at 5 PM.