Women’s basketball: Bronchos Upset 2nd-Ranked Emporia State

Women’s basketball: Bronchos Upset 2nd-Ranked Emporia State

The Bronchos' women's basketball team defeated the Emporia State Hornets 70-64 Thursday night.

UCO’s junior guard Melinda Murillo, 22,  blocks Emporia State’s Jacee Kramer during a game on Jan. 12, 2017 at Hamilton Fieldhouse in Edmond, Okla. The Bronchos won the game 70-64. (Photo/ UCO Photo Services).

The UCO women’s basketball team, currently ranked 16th in NCAA Division II, hosted second-ranked Emporia State on Thursday night. UCO was a half-game ahead of Emporia State in the MIAA conference.

The Bronchos were looking for their third consecutive win after defeating Lincoln University and Lindenwood University on last week’s road trip.

The Hornets began with a bang, hitting a three-pointer on their first possession, and a free throw to take a 4-0 lead in the first 2 minutes. The Bronchos answered with an 8-0 run, forcing the Hornets to call a timeout with 5 minutes left in the first quarter.

After the timeout, the teams traded buckets, but Emporia State hit a shot at the buzzer, taking the lead 16-15.

The Bronchos started the second quarter, with a vengeance going on a 6-0 run in the first 2 minutes, forcing Emporia State to call a timeout. Shatoya Bryson continued the run banking in a three-pointer to extend their lead to 24-16.

The Bronchos maintained their advantage until Emporia State made a run, cutting the lead to 28-26, when UCO took a timeout with 2:13 remaining in the half.

Hayley Bryan, like her teammate Bryson, nailed a three immediately after the timeout, but couldn’t sustain their lead when Emporia’s Megan Holloway nailed a three as the shot clock expired.

The half ended with the score tied 31-31.

The Bronchos shot 11-27 (40 percent) from the field in the first half.

During the second half, the lead changed hands until the first timeout of the third quarter with the Hornets up 40-39.

The Bronchos went on a 6-0 run during the third quarter, to retake the lead 45-40, forcing Emporia State to call a timeout with under 3 minutes to play. The timeout didn’t diminish the Bronchos run, with UCO extending its lead to 54-44, thanks to Olivia Mason’s shot at the buzzer.

Mason began the fourth quarter for the Bronchos with another three-pointer, but Emporia State’s Kelly Moten replied with one of her own, cutting the lead to 10.

“The runs are big, and the three point baskets are big,” said by UCO Women’s head coach Guy Hardaker.

Emporia State’s three-point struggles continued early in the fourth quarter going 1-4. The Bronchos extended their lead to 61-47 with five minutes remaining.

“We felt like that we were going to try and prevent that three ball,” said Hardaker.

The Hornets’ defense answered with a full-court press, however, the Bronchos were up to the challenge maintaining possession.

Anderson came up huge late for the Bronchos, scoring 6 points in three minutes, helping to extend their lead to 67-56 with two minutes remaining.

Jacee Kramer tried to keep the Hornets alive, hitting a three-pointer with 1:15 remaining, forcing UCO to call a timeout.

The following Broncho possession consumed valuable time, cutting the clock to 55 seconds when Melinda Murillo was fouled and subsequently hit 1 of 2 free throws.

Murillo led the Bronchos in points with 14.

“Melinda Murillo was incredible,” said Hardaker

The Bronchos went 3-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute, sealing the upset 70-64.

“I’m proud of what they did tonight,” said Hardaker



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