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Lady Bobcats Win A.I.I. Tournament Championship

Mar 01, 2020

Lady Bobcats after winning the A.I.I. tournament.
Lady Bobcats -- A.I.I. Tournament Champs

A.I.I. All Tournament Lady Bobcats:  Annie Noah, Aleksei Smith, Kyra Hardesty, and Abby Oliver (Most Outstanding Player)
A.I.I. All Tournament Lady Bobcats: Annie Noah, Aleksei Smith, Kyra Hardesty, and Abby Oliver (Most Outstanding Player)

Lady Bobcat Abby Oliver with the drive.
#3 -- Abby Oliver

Aleksei Smith with the drive to the hoop.
#12 -- Aleksei Smith

The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats defeated Voorhees (S.C.) on Sunday in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament Championship hosted by Lincoln College, 78-59.  With the win, the Lady Bobcats are now 29-4 on the season going into the NAIA National Tournament.


To start the game, Voorhees took an early 4-0 lead.  College of the Ozarks struck back with a 16-2 run sparked by an Abby Oliver three-point basket.  Oliver would go on to finish with a game-high 21 points on 5 for 7 shooting from behind-the-arc.  Late in the quarter, Ashley Forrest would nail one of her two triples, giving C of O a 21-12 advantage at the end of one quarter of play.


In the second quarter, the Lady Bobcats began to struggle with turnovers, throwing the ball away 10 times in the first half alone.   Fortunately, defensively C of O was solid, holding a normally formidable Voorhees offense to just 11 for 29 (37.9%) from the field.  As a result, the Lady Bobcats retained a nine-point lead going into halftime, 35-26.


After the break, Kyra Hardesty and Abby Oliver immediately took turns drilling three-point baskets, hitting two quick ones each, ballooning the lead to 17.  Voorhees did not go away easy, testing the C of O interior defense by attacking the paint, trimming the lead to 57-43 at the end of three quarters.


For the final frame, Hardesty went back to work, using a flair screen for a quick three-pointer from the wing, part of her 13 points for the game.  Soon after, another Lady Bobcat double-digit scorer, Jordan Wersinger would convert a bucket in the paint, part of her 10 points and four rebound performance. 


Late in the quarter, Aleksei Smith and Annie Noah would run a nifty give-and-go for a Smith finish at the hoop, giving C of O a 25-point lead.  Smith would finish the game with nine points, five assists, and four rebounds.  Noah added four points, four rebounds, and three assists. Despite one more small run from Voorhees, College of the Ozarks would finish off the game 78-59 to become A.I.I. Tournament Champs.


During the post-game ceremony, four Lady Bobcats were given All-Tournament Team honors.  Kyra Hardesty, Aleksei Smith, and Annie Noah all made the All-Tournament Team and Abby Oliver was named Most Outstanding Player.


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Up next for the Lady Bobcats is the NAIA National Tournament which will be held March 11 through March 17 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.