Oklahoma Baptist women stage big rally against Southern Nazarene

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Oklahoma Baptist's Jaylin Stapleton (right) handles the basketball against Southern Nazarene Thursday night in Bethany.

BETHANY, Okla. – Down by as many as 17 points, Oklahoma Baptist rallied to win 67-66 against Southern Nazarene on Thursday night in Great American Conference play at the Sawyer Center.

The victory for the green and gold snapped SNU’s nine-game winning streak in the series dating back to Feb. 19, 2018.

Nothing seemed to go Oklahoma Baptist’s way in the first half.

SNU started the game shooting 50% and attained a 14-7 advantage after Lexie Reihm scored a jumper at 3:07. The Crimson Storm also benefitted from four Bison turnovers, converting those into 10 points. By quarter’s end, the hosts led 22-14, hit 8-of-16 from the field and notched six assists.

In the second, the Storm’s solid shooting from the first, transitioned into the next.

Southern Nazarene hit its first trio of shots and doubled up the Bison, 28-14, after an Abby Niehues layup about two minutes in. Over the remainder of the quarter, SNU kept the pressure on the green and gold and took its biggest lead, 40-23, following a three by Lauryn Reither at 4:16.

By halftime, Sierra Copeland’s two free throws with 0.4 seconds left, pulled the tally to 42-30 SNU. The hosts ended up shooting 60 percent in the stanza.

Third-quarter action nearly saw the Bison tie the game. A 10-2 stretch was capped off by four straight free throws from Andreja Peciuraite and Mallory Lockhart. After those shots, the Bison trailed 49-47 with 3:13 left. OBU benefitted greatly from the free-throw line in the period, hitting 16-of-18.

In the fourth, the Bison comeback came in the final four minutes. Lockhart scored five straight to give the visitors a 65-64 lead. On the ensuing possession, Kennedy Gillette hit a left baseline jumper pushing SNU back in front by one, 66-65.

OBU then gave its fans a scare, turning the ball over on its next possession. That forced the Bison to foul and put the Crimson Storm to the foul line. The free throws that followed, though, resulted in two SNU misses. And on the second, a Bison team rebound resulted in a foul being called. That would put Jaylin Stapleton to the line.

With 3.6 seconds left, Stapleton swished through both. She ended up with nine points and hit 7-of-8 from the charity.  SNU’s half-court heave afterward sailed high and the Bison prevailed.

Next on the schedule for the Bison is a home date against Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday at 1 p.m.