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Oklahoma City Punches Ticket to Fab Four

March 17, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score; Coach Interview) There will be a new champion in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com as top-ranked Oklahoma City became the first team to reach the Fab Four with a 78-61 win over defending champion Azusa Pacific (Calif.).

With the win, the Stars continued the pursuit of their sixth national title. They improved to 33-1 on the season and will play the winner of the 4 p.m. game between Lubbock Christian (Texas) and Westmont (Calif.) on Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Oklahoma City – whose only loss of the season was an 88-66 setback at the hands of Lubbock Christian – charged out of the gate and needed only five minutes to take a 16-2 lead over the Cougars. Four players scored in the stretch, with Lauren Gober nailing two of her team’s three 3-point baskets. A basket by Nicollette Smith capped the start with 15:01 to play in the opening half.

Azusa Pacific (26-8) responded, and a 9-0 run over 2:01 got it back in the game. Consecutive baskets by senior Jasmyn Reed got it going and a 3-point shot by junior Amanda Sims with 9:28 to play drew the Cougars within three at 20-17.

But they would get no closer. The lead was 32-26 at the break and was 15 points (47-32) by the 15:12 mark. Azusa got no closer than seven the entire half and OCU had its largest lead at the end.

Oklahoma City hit a robust 60.7 percent from the floor in the second half and was 4-of-7 from the arc after recess. Azusa, despite hitting 3-of-4 from deep in the second half, could never mount a rally.

Gober turned in a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead her club in both categories. Dietra Caldwell followed with 16 points. Smith came off the bench for 11 and six rebounds, while Taylor Booze flipped in 10 and dished out eight assists while Desiree Jeffries scored 10 and handed out seven assists.

Azusa Pacific, which hit 81.3 percent from the free throw line, had three players in double figures. Amber Williams paced her club with 13 points and added eight rebounds. Sims was next with 12 points while Madalene Barrett scored 11 and had 11 rebounds to lead her club to a 46-36 advantage on the glass.

Briana Hall, who had five points, led all players with nine assists.
NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Bracket Announcement