SHAWNEE, Okla. – Despite a season-high performance by one player and 22 points by another, the Drovers couldn’t overcome Mid-America Christian in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament and fell 69-64.
“I thought our second half effort was much better. I thought we came out fairly sluggish in the first half,” Head Coach Jennifer Hayden said. “We had difficulty connecting from the three-point line, and that’s a big part of our game.”
The tournament is single elimination. MACU will advance to play top-seed Oklahoma City at 2:15 p.m. Thursday in Shawnee. USAO returns home with the season wrapped up.
It was the first time the Drover women competed in the SAC Tournament since 2009.
In the first half, Mid-America Christian applied the pressure, and USAO struggled to find the basket. USAO trailed by eight at halftime.
Within nine minutes of the second half, the Drovers had cut the deficit and tied the game at 44 and the teams went back and forth for sometime.
The comeback had a lot to do with Rocio Medrano, who scored 10 of her 22 points in the first nine minutes of the second half.
But the Evangels slowly started to pull back into the lead as the remainder of the half trailed along.
With less than a minute left, Paige Pulliam soared in a three off an assist by Tashina Ototivo and as the buzzer went off, Krista Ford knocked in a lay , but the late effort wasn’t enough to best the Evangels in the end.
Pulliam had a season-high 16 points after scoring all three of the Drovers three pointers in the game. She also went 3-4 from the line. Ford had nine points and nine rebounds.
“I thought we had a great effort all night from Tashina Ototivo. I thought she worked hard from inside,” Hayden said. “I think it comes down to the first half.”
Ototivo, playing in her last game as a Drover after four years, collected 13 rebounds and scored six points in the game.
The Drovers, ending the season 10-19, return home to begin to prepare for the 2013-14 season.