Second Half Defense, 23-0 Run Launches John Brown over Oklahoma Baptist, 52-47

Freshman Brooke Barker drives the lane against Oklahoma Baptist

Freshman Brooke Barker drives the lane against Oklahoma Baptist

SHAWNEE, Okla. (February 28, 2013) — Facing a 15-point deficit at halftime that grew to 19 early in the second half, the fourth-seeded Golden Eagles stepped up its defense, limiting fifth-seeded Oklahoma Baptist to a 16.7 percent shooting clip and 12 total points, and used a 23-0 run over a span of nine minutes to catapult John Brown into the Sooner Athletic Conference semifinals with a 52-47 win on Thursday afternoon at Mabee Arena.

Sophomore forward Abbie Warren scored all nine of her points in the second half, including a perfect 2-of-2 from the three-point line, none bigger than her triple from the corner at the 3:50 mark of the second stanza that handed JBU a game-high seven-point lead that placed the game out of reach. Junior guard Sierra Shipley had a team-high 12 points and game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Lauren Rogers landed eight of her 11 points in the second half, including two treys. Freshman forward Brooke Barker chipped in 10 points in the winning effort.

The John Brown defense held the Lady Bison to 12 total points in the second half, limiting the host team to 5-of-20 from the field after allowing OBU 35 points in the first half. After finding themselves outrebounded after the first 20 minutes, 21-12, the Golden Eagles began to crash the boards in the second half, outrebounding Oklahoma Baptist, 23-16, including four offensive rebounds.

“In the first half, we had good shots, but we missed them,” said head coach Jeff Soderquist of his team’s 8-of-23 effort from the field in the first stanza. “They had too many second chance opportunities. We’d get them to miss on the first try, but their six offensive rebounds killed us. We made some adjustments at the half that really worked for us, but, more importantly, limited them to one-shot-and-done in the second half.”

Tied at four, OBU went on a quick 8-0 run that pushed the tournament hosts to a 12-4 lead at the 14:18 mark. The lead quickly grew to 17 when the Lady Bison pieced together another run, this time of the 10-2 variety, grabbing a convincing 25-8 advantage with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. A pair of Barker free throws and back-to-back field goals from Kami Garrison trimmed the lead to 11 (25-14), but Oklahoma Baptist turned a missed shot and a turnover by John Brown into four more points, extending the lead back to 15.

Rogers’ responded with a triple, the Golden Eagles’ only triple of the half, but the Lady Bison held a 6-3 scoring advantage over the final 2:33 to take a 35-20 lead into halftime. John Brown went 1-of-8 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes of play, while OBU’s six offensive rebounds turned into 14 second-chance points. Oklahoma Baptist shot 44.4 percent in the first stanza.

Despite OBU starting the second half on a 6-2 run, at the 16:17 mark, John Brown began an incredible run of its own, down 41-22. Over the next 9:23, the Golden Eagles went on a 23-0 run that began with a pair of Shipley conversions from the charity stripe. Five different players scored, while three-consecutive triples from the duo of Warren and Rogers handed JBU its first lead of the game, 45-41. The Lady Bison missed 15 consecutive field goals over the stretch in addition to committing four turnovers.

At the 3:50 mark, still clinging to a four-point lead, Warren grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled into the corner before launching an unexpected three-pointer that found only twine, giving the Golden Eagles its game-high seven-point lead. OBU was able to whittle the deficit to three, but a timely Shipley offensive rebound forced a Lady Bison foul, allowing Rogers to ice the game with a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining.

“Brooke had a good semester for us, but struggled a little bit during conference play,” admitted Soderquist. “But today, especially in the first half when we were having a hard time scoring, she came up big with a few layups and driving the basket that drew some fouls. Abbie also did a tremendous job rebounding, and gave us two huge three-pointers.”

Although both teams scored 22 points apiece in the paint, it was the John Brown bench that provided the difference as Barker and Warren combined for 19 of the Golden Eagles’ 21 bench points. The Oklahoma Baptist reserves only managed seven. The Lady Bison ultimately won the battle of the boards, outrebounding John Brown, 37-35.

With the victory, JBU moves to 13-16 on the season. Oklahoma Baptist closes its campaign at 14-14.

The Golden Eagles now move on to the SAC tournament semifinals and will face top-seeded Oklahoma City on Friday, March 1, at 3:00 p.m.

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Freshman Brooke Barker drives the lane against Oklahoma Baptist

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Freshman Brooke Barker drives the lane against Oklahoma Baptist