Women’s Basketball: Bronchos Defeat Central Missouri, Gain 20th Win

Women’s Basketball: Bronchos Defeat Central Missouri, Gain 20th Win

Sophmore Madison Lee defends 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 UCO Bronchos faced off against the Central Missouri Jennies at Hamilton Field House in a MIAA conference showdown. A balanced scoring effort along with stingy defense helped the Bronchos secure their 20th win of the season as they beat Central Missouri 65-55.

UCO was led by senior guard Marley Anderson, who had 17 points to go along with 3 assists and 1 steal. Jesheon Cooper also played a huge role in the Bronchos victory, finishing the game with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks. UCO also received contributions from Melinda Murillo, who scored 16 points and Olivia Mason who had 6 points and 8 rebounds.

From the opening tip-off, the Bronchos were pushing the pace and pounding the ball inside to take advantage of their size. Cooper was a focal point on the offensive end to start the game, as she produced a quick six points and two blocks to help the Bronchos gain a 10-5 lead early in the first quarter.

“She definitely had a mismatch”, UCO’s head coach Guy Hardaker said.

With the help of Cooper, the Bronchos crashed the glass relentlessly the entire game. “We were just focusing on rebounding,” Hardaker said.

The Bronchos out-rebounded the Jennies 13-5 in the first quarter, whcih helped the Bronchos get a 21-9 lead.

To start the second quarter, Central Missouri switched from a man defense to a zone, attempting to catch the Bronchos off guard. The zone defense helped Central Missouri mount a comeback as the Broncho lead was cut to just seven points in the middle of the second quarter.

UCO once again leaned on their size as they grabbed five offensive rebounds in the second quarter, giving them a 22-11 advantage on the boards and leading them to a 38-28 lead heading into halftime.

The Bronchos started the third quarter shooting 1-8, as the team struggled to get a basket. UCO ended up shooting 31% for the quarter, allowing Central Missouri to claw their way back to within single digits of the Bronchos’ lead at the end of the third.

Paige Redmond led Central Missouri with 23 points and, with a three-point shot, trimmed the Bronchos lead down to 6 points early in the fourth quarter. Central Missouri had five fourth-quarter comebacks, but the Bronchos refused to be another victim. UCO went on a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 15 and the Bronchos never looked back.

UCO is now in first place in the MIAA and, with this victory, the Bronchos clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament.

UCO’s next game will be Saturday against Southwest Baptist University at Hamilton Field House.

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