The UCO women’s basketball team came up short against the Southwest Baptist Bearcats on Saturday.
Senior Marley Anderson prepares to shoot into the basket at the UCO vs. Central Missouri Women’s game at the Hamilton Field House on February 2, 2017. (Elizabeth Roberts/ The Vista).
The eighth-ranked Central Oklahoma women’s basketball team came up short in a 76-73 loss to the Southwest Baptist Bearcats on Saturday. It was a fast-paced, high-scoring game from the opening tip, with the score after the first quarter already at 26-22.
The Bearcats ripped off a 14-0 run that helped build a 10-point lead, but allowed the Bronchos to fight back and take a 38-37 lead by halftime. The Bronchos once again experienced a scoring drought, failing to score for nearly four minutes in the third quarter. Just like in the first half, the Bronchos fought back to tie the game at 52-52 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was much of the same as Melinda Murrillo hit a 3-pointer to give the Bronchos their last lead of the game and then one more 3-pointer to end yet another drought. The Bronchos were able to tie the game at the 6:30 mark with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Shatoya Bryson, but quickly found themselves down by seven points heading into the final minutes of the game.
After some back and forth, the Bronchos were down by eight with a minute left to go in the game when senior forward Hayley Bryan quickly rattled off five points, a layup and a 3-pointer, to cut the deficit down to four points with 36 seconds left. After a quick Bearcat turnover, Bryan hit another 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. After two Bearcat free throws, the Bronchos had one last opportunity to tie the game, but senior forward Olivia Mason’s 3-pointer fell short.
After the game, head coach Guy Hardaker cited losing the rebound battle-the Bronchos were out rebounded by 11-better fundamentals on the part of the Bearcats and stretching out the posts as reasons for the loss.
There was one positive that Hardaker took away from the game. “We were down almost every period and tied it up. It seemed like we were down and catch up, down and catch up, down and catch up. So, if there was a positive tonight offensively, we gave ourselves a chance, scored enough points to win.”
Hardaker elaborated on the trouble the Bearcats posts gave the Bronchos. “They’re a bad match up for us because their bigs can shoot. If we got a big that we know can’t shoot, can’t step out to the three line, can’t hit 15-17 feet- that’s a good match up for us. When they have one that can step out there and shoot it, then she [defender] is going to have to work a little harder and the rotation was bad.”
Murillo led the Bronchos with 19 points including three 3-pointer shots, which was a team high. Mason also had a solid game ,finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. Bryson finished with 8 points and senior guard Marley Anderson scored 15 points.
The Bronchos (20-2, 11-2) look to get back on track against Nebraska-Kearney next Thursday.