Bison women flip script, knock off ECU

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
OBU's Kalifa Ford (34) goes up for two points against East Central Thursday night at the Noble Complex.

The script has seemingly been flipped for the Oklahoma Baptist University women's basketball squad.

Winners of three of the last five games after an 0-10 start to the season, the Bison did enough successfully in many facets of their game Thursday night to claim an 80-70 victory over the East Central University Tigers in Great American Conference play at the Noble Complex.

OBU converted 25 of 29 free throws, held a convincing 39-27 rebounding advantage and got powerful inside efforts from Andreja Peciuraite and Kalifa Ford to knock off the GAC Western Division's second-place team.

“The last two of three games our emphasis has been getting out and rebounding and we're doing a lot better job defending and getting loose balls,” said Bison head coach Bo Overton.

One critical area, according to Overton, was OBU's ability to create 20 assists while having only 15 turnovers.

“We completely flipped it. (During the losing streak) We had twice as many turnovers as assists in many of our games,” Overton said.

On Thursday, Peciuraite registered a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Ford, off the bench, had a near double-double effort with 18 points and nine boards. Peciuraite was 7 of 8 from the floor and 8 of 8 from the line while Ford finished 8 of 12 from the field and 2 of 3 from the charity stripe.

“With Andreja, it came down to execution and getting the ball to her where she could do something with it,” said Overton.

Ford had 10 of her 18 points in the first half and was a pivotal force in the Bison taking a 37-35 halftime advantage.

“Kalifa, in the first half, got us going and settled us down. She got the ball in the basket early for us,” Overton said.

OBU, which shot 51% from the floor for the game, also received 12 points from Jaylin Stapleton and nine from Charissa Price.

That pair was primarily responsible for feeding the ball to Peciuraite and Ford. Price finished with six assists and Stapleton ended up with five. The Bison finished with 20 assists off 25 made baskets in the game and totaled 10 second-chance points.

“Jaylin and Charissa did a great job of setting us up inside,” said Overton.

OBU also received three assists from Melissa Southard and two each from Ford and Jenni Bebee.

Additionally, the Bison received seven points, all coming from the free-throw line from Madison Chambers as she was 7 of 8. Beebe chipped in six points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.

OBU was clinging to a slim 62-60 edge with just under seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter. But the Bison outscored ECU, 18-10, the rest of the way.

That surge was ignited by back-to-back buckets from Ford, both off Price feeds, and Peciuraite later hit a basket, before OBU did the remainder of its offensive damage from the charity stripe.

Leading 68-64, the Bison drained 12 of 14 free-throw attempts in the final 3:40 to keep the Tigers at bay. Puciuraite and Chambers knocked down four free shots apiece during that stretch while Jacie Engler and Price connected for two each.

OBU is scheduled to play Saturday at GAC West leading Southwestern Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. in Weatherford.