College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats faced Wilberforce University (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon and took care of business, claiming an 82-53 victory and advancing to the A.I.I. Conference Championship game on Sunday evening.
The Lady Bobcats opened the game with an 11-2 run, fueled by two Kyra Hardesty three-pointers and baskets by Annie Noah and Ashley Forrest. The Bulldogs replied with a 9-0 run of their own to tie the game at 11. The two teams proceeded to trade baskets, with the Lady Cats closing out the quarter, holding a 14-13 lead. In the second quarter, fans saw the Lady Bobcats come to life, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-11 to take a 38-24 lead. For the half, the Lady Cats shot 14-28 (50%) and out-rebounded Wilberforce 22-12.
In the third quarter, C of O continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs, scoring 25 points, with 13 provided by Abby Oliver. Wilberforce was held to 14 points for the quarter. In the final period, the Lady Cats’ bench tallied 19 points, including seven by Jordan Wersinger, four from Harper Little, three by Grace Steiger, and five by Michelle Gabani.
For the game, the Lady Cats shot 48.2% from the field, 47.1% from beyond the three-point arc, and 76.9% from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, C of O held Wilberforce to 29.1% from the field, C of O out-rebounded the Bulldogs 45-27.
The Lady Cats were led by Oliver with 23 points, Noah with nine rebounds, 13 points, and five steals, and Hardesty with four assists. Also scoring in double figures for the game was Wersinger with ten.
The win improves the Lady Bobcats’ record to 28-4 and places the Lady Bobcats in the Championship Game on Sunday at 5:00 p.m against Voorhees College (S.C.). The win also guarantees the Lady Cats will be participating in the NAIA DII Women's Basketball National Championship scheduled to begin in Sioux City, Iowa on March 11th.