SSU Meets Oklahoma City in NAIA 2nd round
SSU Sports Information
FRANKFORT, Ky. — For the second time in three seasons, Oklahoma City and Shawnee State women’s basketball will clash in the NAIA Tournament. This time, a berth in the NAIA quarterfinals is on the line. The fifth-seeded Bears (24-9) advanced to the NAIA Second Round with a 62-56 victory over fourth-seeded Columbia while the top seed in the quadrant, Oklahoma City (27-3), cruised to a 74-39 win over eighth-seeded Central Methodist.
The Bears will once again be the second game to hit the courts Friday at Frankfort Convention Center. The game with Oklahoma City will tip at 10:45 a.m. Live stats and live video will once again be provided for fans that cannot make the game in person.
Shawnee State will be looking to be make the quarterfinal round for the seventh time in program history and second time since becoming an NAIA Division I school in 2010-11. Going back to their Division II days, a win would make it the third time in four seasons that SSU has made the quarterfinal round. In school history, the Bears are 6-7 all-time in the NAIA Second Round. They are 1-1 in this round since joining Division I.
To make the quarterfinals, the Bears will be looking to duplicate their victory over Oklahoma City from two seasons ago when the teams met in quarterfinals and the Bears punched their ticket to the NAIA Fab Four with a 54-47 win in their first season as an NAIA Division I program. This was the only meeting between the two schools in program history. Oklahoma City was also the top seed in the quadrant during that tournament while the Bears entered the 2011 NAIA Championships as the sixth-seeded team.
With the win Wednesday, the Bears are 5-4 all-time as the underdogs according to tournament seeding in the NAIA Tournament. Since the NAIA began seeding quads in 2003, the Bears have met the top seed from a quad on three separate occasions. The meeting with Oklahoma City was the only time the won a matchup vs. a top seed.
This year’s season class became the second group in as many seasons, but just the seventh all-time to make the NAIA Second Round in all four of their seasons. With a win tomorrow, they can become the first classs in program history to make the quarterfinals in three of their four seasons at Shawnee State.
Before yesterday, the Bears had only ever posted one double-double in the NAIA Tournament since joining Division I. Alex Pohl (12 points, 16 rebounds) and Schera Sampson (14 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles in the win over Columbia. With her rebound total, Sampson tied the school record for rebounds in a single season with 343, which was set by Erica Hayes.
Hopefully this will come as a little bit of foreshadowing as Hayes set that mark during the 1999 National Championship season. That was also the season that Hayes set the school record for points in a year with 814. She was named the NAIA Player of the Year after that 1999 Championship season run.
Alannah Sheets scored 10 points on Wednesday, giving her at least that many in 19 of the last 20 games, and a total of 26 times for the season. Allison Nagle finished with a team-high 14 points, marking the seventh time this season she has scored 10 or more, but the second time in the last four games.
Friday’s game will be no small task as Oklahoma City comes in beating opponents by an average of over 32 points per game. That is the second-highest mark in the NAIA. They also create 13.3 more turnovers per game than they cause – the best mark in the NAIA. The Stars also average 82.3 points per game on offensive – the second-most in the NAIA. Oklahoma City was ranked No. 2 in the NAIA’s final poll, receiving one first-place vote
Lauren Gober averages a team-best 15.3 points per game for the team as she ranks ninth in the NAIA in 3-pointers made per game (2.6) and is shooting just over 39-percent from three. She was named the Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Desiree Jeffries (12.6 ppg, 3.9 apg) was also a first-team All-SAC while teammate Jessica Lankston (7.7 ppg) was named honorable mention All-SAC. Katie Hall (12.6 ppg) was named SAC Newcomer of the Year while Kayla MacKenzie averages 10.6 points off the bench.
Both the Bears and Stars were at-large selections to the NAIA Tournament. Oklahoma City was the first at-large team picked after falling in the conference finals while Shawnee State was the sixth at-large team. The two teams have no common opponents this season.
The winner of this Friday’s game will the play Saturday at 2 p.m. (the first game of the day) against the winner of sixth-seeded Carrol (21-9) and second-seeded Lee (31-2).
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