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Lady Eagles open conference play with victory

Friday, December 7, 2007  
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By Tracy Washam

The Lady Eagles opened the Sooner Athletic Conference season with a 65-56 win over the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma last Thursday night.

Many players on the team contributed to the win, and the defense played a big role as well.

“Our team defense as a whole contributed. We held their best player, who has been averaging 16 points a game, to two points,” point guard Kailan DeCamp said. “That’s not a coincidence. That’s because we work hard on defense, and we’re a good defensive team.”

DeCamp led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 19 points and Lindsey Gipson added 17 points.

“DeCamp hit some big shots for us to get back our lead on USAO while Gipson stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down some very important free throws,” Haley Myers said.

Myers hit a crucial 3-pointer to tie the game in the first half and another basket shortly after to give Oklahoma Christian its first lead in the game.

Devin Sewell scored 12 points and contributed eight rebounds. Charlotte Heron blocked five shots and achieved a game high 11 rebounds.

“Heron did a great job on defense by blocking quite a few shots,” Myers said.

On Saturday, the Lady Eagles’ luck turned and Southern Nazarene University narrowly defeated Oklahoma Christian 74-72.

Danielle Cox led the Lady Eagles with a career high 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Myers also scored a career high 15 points.

“Brittney Kennedy and Cox gave us a huge lift on offense,” Myers said. “Both of them hit very important shots that brought us back into the game.”

Cox’s effort came in response to a challenge from head coach Stephanie Findley.

“The one individual who stands out to me is Cox. Coach got on her pretty hard about pulling some offensive boards, and instead of getting down and taking it personal, she responded and pulled the offensive boards we needed her to and had a great game,” DeCamp said. “Kennedy also hit some big shots for us in the first half to get us on a roll and put us ahead.

The Lady Eagles battled defensively and took the lead with a Myer’s 3-pointer with only 1:49 left in the game but Oklahoma Christian was unable to stay there.

“DeCamp did a great job at drawing fouls and knocking down some big free throws for us,” Myers said. “Cressi Bryant also gave us a lift on both ends of the floor.”

The Lady Eagles feel good about the team’s performance so far and believe they will continue to improve.

“I think that each game we are playing better and better as a team,” Gipson said. “It is nice to see that we are not content after each game, but ready to get better and improve on what we already have.”

DeCamp also feels great about the way the team played.

She admitted to being nervous at the beginning because of the youth of the team.

“Playing the way we did against SNU has really put a lot of questioning in the past for me,” DeCamp said. “I feel we’re right where we need to be. Give us a little more time to develop some chemistry and learn to trust each other and believe in what our coaches are teaching us, and we’ll be doing things that no one expects us to.”

Six games into the season the Lady Eagles are still getting to know each other on the court.

“We are still getting used to playing with each other,” Heron said. “But when we get on the court we always give 100 percent. We do make mistakes, but we learn from them and take them into the next game so we can improve.”

The players think their greatest strengths right now are their defense and their free throw shooting.

“Our defensive ability is outstanding, we have the ability to shut down any team on any given night if we choose to do so,” DeCamp said.

The players also think that the focus for improvement should be the offense end and working on eliminating turnovers.

“We still need to improve on reducing our turnovers,” Heron said. “But against SNU, we did manage to reduce the number quite a bit so we are obviously learning and improving.”

All the players agree that improvement will happen as the players learn to trust each other.

“We need to learn to trust each other and to make the extra pass, knowing that our teammate will convert,” DeCamp said. “For me, that’s our biggest struggle at this point and time, but we can definitely fix that.”

Oklahoma Christian picked up a victory on Tuesday night by defeating Northwestern Oklahoma State University 61-60. DeCamp led the team with 19 points.

The Lady Eagle’s record now stands at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the SAC. Their next game will be on Dec. 15 when they take on Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.

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