Photo by Nathan Kelly
LUBBOCK, Texas - Oklahoma City University upended No. 1-ranked Lubbock Christian (Texas) 79-68 on Thursday at Rip Griffin Center in a showdown of top 10-ranked teams in NAIA Division I women's basketball.
Desiree Jeffries, a senior from Oklahoma City, boosted the defending national champion Stars with team highs of 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Sixth-ranked OCU improved to 11-2, 3-0 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, while Lubbock Christian suffered its first loss, moving to 16-1, 3-1.
OCU's Katie Hall, a senior from Hazelton, Idaho, came through with 17 points and eight rebounds. Lauren Gober, a senior from Newcastle, Okla., contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, while Jessica Lankston, a senior from Kansas, Okla., produced 12 points and six rebounds along with sinking all 10 of her free-throw attempts for the Stars.
The Stars dropped in 26 out of 30 free-throw tries. OCU knocked down 24 of 26 second-half free-throw attempts.
"I was proud of the way they battled through the different surges of the game," OCU coach Latricia Trammell said. "I was excited to see our team make free throws under pressure. I also loved seeing the team chemistry and the desire to get it done."
The lead changed hands four times in the contest. Gober's trey put OCU in front for good as the Stars led 17-15 with 5:42 remaining in the first half. Lubbock Christian's Haley Burton had a layup to tie the game, but Ravven Brown's lay-in provided the Stars a 19-17 advantage with 4:32 on the clock.
Burton's 3 gave Lubbock Christian an early 7-1 edge. OCU responded with a 7-0 run as Cara Pugh gave the Stars a 10-9 advantage on a jumper with 11:28 left in the first. Lubbock Christian scored the game's next six points, but Jeffries had back-to-back transition buckets before Gober's 3 that put OCU up 17-15.
In the second half, OCU pushed its lead to double digits on an 8-0 run. Lankston's fastbreak layup finished up the surge, increasing the Stars' margin to 43-28 at the 14:05 mark.
OCU built its largest lead 63-47 with Jeffries' breakaway lay-in with 4:07 left.
Brown, a senior from Duluth, Ga., added 11 points, two assists and two steals for the Stars. Emily Atkins had 16 points, while Nicole Hampton posted 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for Lubbock Christian.
The Stars meet Wayland Baptist (Texas) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Plainview, Texas.