Open menu

Lady Cats Win; Moran Sets Single Season Rebounding Mark

Feb 29, 2024

Moran Rebounding Record
#10 Susie Moran

#22 Kayley Frank

Lawrence, KS – The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats opened postseason play Thursday and survived a scare by the #8 seed Crowley’s Ridge College Pioneers. The Lady Cats entered the Continental Athletic Conference tournament as the top seed and all eyes were on Susie Moran during the matchup as she entered the contest just 11 rebounds shy of tying the single season rebounding record (422).

The Lady Cats had taken the two previous meetings with Crowley’s Ridge, defeating the Pioneers 90-74 on January 6, in Paragould, AR, and the home contest by a score of 93-52 just a couple weeks earlier. The Lady Cats had every reason to be confident heading into the Thursday matchup, but the Pioneers had worked hard to prepare for what could be their final game of the season.

The Lady Cats jumped on the board first with a Logan Jones layup and the Pioneers answered with a layup on their end. Susie Moran scored to keep the Lady Cats ahead but a Pioneer three would be a sign of how the tables were about to turn. The Pioneers were determined to extend their season and they began to put together an offensive assault. The Lady Cats, in the meantime, went cold from the field and CRC was primed to take advantage. An 8-0 run propelled the Pioneers to a 10-4 lead, and they were determined not to look back. Free throws by Kayley Frank and a basket by Moran would break the string but the Pioneers had the momentum and continued to apply pressure. A 13-2 run to close out the quarter would put the Lady Cats in a 21-10 hole at the first break.

Kayley Frank scored to open the second stanza and Avery Arnold splashed home a three. It looked like the Lady Cats were back in business. CRC had other plans however, and a quick six points reestablished the margin. The Lady Cats needed to respond and slow the momentum of the Pioneers. Moran accepted the challenge and scored inside before Frank and Taylor Rush drained back-to back treys to cut the gap to 27-23. The Pioneers showed their determination to maintain the upper hand and another 13-4 run set the Lady Cats back to a 40-27 disadvantage, with 1:35 left to play in the half. Every time the Lady Cats would pull close, the Pioneers had a big response and things were not looking good. A Pioneer three was offset by free throws by Frank and Benefield and the Lady Cats trailed 43-30 heading to the intermission.

Coming out of the locker room, the Lady Cats had work to do. They needed to find consistency on the offensive end, but they also needed defensive stops. Neither of these had the Pioneers been hospitable to provide. Traditionally a second half team, the Lady Cats answered the call once again. Susie Moran, now with five rebounds to her credit, opened the third quarter scoring. Logan Jones followed with a basket and a three, and with 8:02 on the clock, another Moran bucket capped a 9-0 Lady Cat run. The Pioneers broke their silence at the 7:21 mark and sandwiched a Logan Jones basket with two of their own. The Pioneers responded to the challenge and came back to life with a short, 6-2 run. Frank, Moran, and Benefield kept the Lady Cats close, but the Pioneers would not give in. An Abbey Linville three at the 2:47 mark kept the gap at four, 54-50. With 2:11 showing on the clock, Susie Moran grabbed an offensive rebound and became the single season record holder for the Lady Cats. While that accomplishment was noteworthy, there were other pressing matters in the forefront, and the Lady Cats needed to complete a comeback win. The Pioneers ended the frame with another 6-2 run and took a 60-52 lead to the final break.

With only 10:00 left to play, the Lady Cats had their backs to the wall. The Pioneers had led since early in the first quarter and had answered every challenge posed by the Lady Cats. C of O would need to turn up the defensive pressure and find answers on the offensive end in order to come from behind for the win. The Pioneers opened the scoring in the final stanza and Susie Moran responded with a free throw and a pair of baskets to begin the climb. CRC was feeling the pressure and the Lady Cats continued to turn up the heat. The Pioneers continued to answer but the Lady Cats slowly chipped away at the lead. Buckets by Benefield, Frank, and Moran cut the gap to 67-63 with 5:24 left to play and the tension was mounting. The Pioneers regained composure and hit a big three to go up 73-65 with 2:29 showing on the clock. It was crunch time for the Lady Cats and a pair of free throws by Moran, and layups by Frank and Benefield, combined with a free throw for a three-point play, cut the deficit to 73-72 with 1:24 showing on the clock. The Pioneers were again feeling the pressure and things were getting shaky. A series of fouls committed by the Pioneers had proven costly and with :55 left to play, Kayley Frank drove the lane for a layup and the Lady Cats had their first lead since the first quarter. Back in familiar territory, the tone changed, and the Lady Cats were back on top. The Lady Cat defense clamped down and free throws by Frank and Jones capped a 12-0 run to seal the 77-73, come from behind win.

While the Lady Cat win was dramatic to say the least, it is not one they would want to have to duplicate anytime soon.

Kayley Frank led all scorers with 25 points while pulling down 14 rebounds. Susie Moran, on her way to the new single season rebounding mark, poured in 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. Logan Jones added 12 points, Blythe Benfield contributed eight, and Taylor Rush, Abbey Linville, and Avery Arnold each added three points in the win.

The Lady Cats will face the winner of the Haskell Indian Nations University and Washington Adventist University matchup on Saturday. The time for the contest is to be determined depending on the winner.