Siloam Springs, Ark. (February 23, 2006) - Not many people expected the John Brown Golden Eagles to upset 9th-ranked Oklahoma Christian Thursday night in Siloam Springs. Oklahoma Christian entered the game with a 14-2 Sooner Athletic Conference record, and John Brown was just 10-6, struggling to remain in NAIA Tournament contention. But it was Senior Night, and Kendra McCormick, Lesli Fanning, Alicia Baer, Brooke Warder, and Natalie Reid were not about to end their careers quietly. The Golden Eagles controlled most of the game to win 78-76.
McCormick scored 23 points to lead John Brown (19-10, 11-6). Baer and Fanning each scored 12; Reid scored 7; and Warder added 6. The Golden Eagles kept the game close early, never allowing the Eagles to get comfortable. John Brown led 26-21 with 8:05 left in the half, but Oklahoma Christian went on an 8-0 run to take back the lead. Warder and Jordan Gipson hit back-to-back treys, however, to put the Golden Eagles back ahead, and John Brown led at halftime 35-33.
Baer and Fanning hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half, and John Brown led 41-37 with 18:25 left in the game. Another basket by Baer stretched the lead to eight, 45-37, with 17:03 remaining. Oklahoma Christian enjoyed two, brief, one-point leads in the middle of the half, but a pair of free throws by McCormick at 6:52 gave the Golden Eagles a 60-58 lead they would never surrender. The issue was in doubt until the final seconds, however, as Oklahoma Christian took advantage of turnovers and free throws to pull within 3 with just 23 seconds left. Gipson hit a free throw at 0:11 to make the score 78-74, and Tasha Turney’s putback with 2 seconds on the clock was not enough to save Oklahoma Christian (21-7, 14-3).
Tasha Turney led Oklahoma Christian with 23 points. Rachel Martin scored 17; Lauren Decker scored 16; and Katie Fariss added 10.
The Golden Eagles shot 44.9% from the field (22-for-49) and 55.0% from 3-point range (11-for-20). They also made 23-of-32 free throws for 71.9%. Oklahoma Christian shot an even 50.0% from the field (27-for-54).
John Brown wraps up the regular season Saturday in Bethany, Okla., visiting Southern Nazarene at 6:00.