Gutsy Comeback Countered as MACU Takes Double-Overtime Victory

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (January 7, 2016) -- On the strength of six players in double figures, the No. 19 John Brown women’s basketball team (9-6, 2-1 SAC) chipped away at an early 26-point deficit and tied the score near the end of regulation, but fell in a 98-90 double-overtime thriller at Mid-America Christian (Okla.) on Thursday (Jan. 7) at the Gaulke Activities Center.

After enjoying a near 30-point lead before the half, the Golden Eagles slowly chipped away at the Mid-America Christian (5-5, 1-1 SAC) lead to the point of grabbing a 74-72 lead, courtesy of a personal 6-0 run from freshman Baily Cameron. Her left-handed floater from just outside the left block with 7.9 seconds left completed the 28-point turnaround and solidified six JBU players in double figures before overtime began. However, MACU had a pair of buzzer-beating shots that prolonged the game’s outcome and stalled a would-be JBU victory.

After Cameron’s bucket, the Evangels had one more chance to tie or win the game. Sarai Rodriguez hit a jumper from the left baseline with .8 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

The first overtime featured Cameron extending her personal scoring run to 10 with a pair of field goals until conversions at the line from senior Brooke barker with 2:02 left kept JBU in the lead, 83-80. The Golden Eagles were on the cusp of victory for a second time until unusual free throw trouble allowed MACU another chance at life.

Cameron split a pair at the line with 1:40 left and Rodriguez answered with a bucket 58 seconds later. Up two, 84-82, and with possession, junior Kodee Powell was fouled with six ticks left with a chance to make it a two-possession game. JBU’s second-best free throw shooter missed both as MACU called timeout and advanced the ball to midcourt.

After scoring 24 points in the first half on 5-of-6 attempts from behind the arc, MACU’s Kelli Tolar took a desperation shot with one foot on the arc and hit it at the buzzer, sending the game to a second overtime.

With two chances to ice the game having already eluded the Golden Eagles, the Evangels held John Brown in check in the second overtime. Hampered by a 2-of-6 mark from the field in the sixth frame, the hosts out-scored JBU 14-6 to claim the 98-90 win. Powell’s two triples in the last stanza stood as the only visitor points.

“Very disappointed in the loss tonight,” said head coach Jeff Soderquist. “We have to learn how it start games better and not put ourselves is such a hole. With that said, this group of girls never give up and I love that about this group. We have to get better defensively if we want to make a run in the SAC. Give MACU credit, they hit shots a couple of times when the game was on the line. They are a well-coached team and have a good group of young ladies.”

The early-game hole was mainly a product of Tolar’s hot shooting in the first half, combined with John Brown’s 12-of-40 (30 percent) shooting from the floor.

Barker’s personal 5-0 run inched John Brown closer, 56-47, in the third quarter that saw the Golden Eagles take a 20-16 score edge after the lopsided first half. Sophomore Mariah Knox caught fire to start the fourth, hitting three-straight field goals, including back-to-back triples, to pull JBU within three, 62-59. Finally, senior Sofia Mendoza finished a spinning jumper in the lane, handing John Brown its first lead, 63-62, since the Golden Eagles held a 2-0 advantage, with just over five left.

A 5-0 Evangel run returned the lead back to the hosts, 67-63, but sophomore Jana Schammel’s triple followed by a Barker lay-up, volleyed the lead back to the Golden Eagles. Consecutive MACU field goals returned the four-point lead to the Evangels before Cameron’s 6-0 person run.

Cameron scored a team-leading 16 points and completed the double-double with 15 boards, a career-high. Her first-career double-double included a trio of assists and a block. Barker scored 11 of her 14 points in the final four frames while sophomore Kimmey Deines added 13 points and a career-high six assists. Powell shot just 3-of-15 from the field but also dished out six assists and scored 10 points, as did Schammel. Knox added 11 while Mendoza joined her off the bench for a season-high 10 points on a 5-of-8 shooting effort from the floor.

MACU responded with 31 points, a career-high, from Tolar, who hit 6-of-13 from long range and grabbed 10 boards for the double-double. D’Shala Culberson completed a double-double with a 17-point, 15-rebound effort. Her 15 caroms set a MACU single-game program record.

Sarai Rodriguez hit nine field goals for 21 points before leaving the game with an injury as Jamie Lamb and Lindsey Mann contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.

All 10 starters in the game reached double figures.

The loss was JBU’s third straight and also marks the Golden Eagles’ first loss in conference play this season. John Brown will look to rebound against the No. 15 Oklahoma City Stars on Saturday (Jan. 9) when the two squads clash in Oklahoma City at 3 p.m. in the NAIA Network Game of the Week.

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