Golden Eagles never trail, continue upward climb in SAC standings

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CHICKASHA, Okla. -- For the second straight game, the No. 23 John Brown University women's basketball team knocked off a team above them in the Sooner Athletic standings. This time, the Golden Eagles rode 17 points and seven rebounds from sophomore Baily Cameron to take an 81-70 win over Science & Arts (Okla.) on Thursday (Jan. 19) inside Drover Fieldhouse.

With the win, JBU (12-6, 4-3 Sooner Athletic) has now won three of five outings this semester and improves to 4-3 in true road games.

The victory also avenges a difficult 58-53 setback in Chickasha last season.

Cameron contributed her eighth-consecutive double-digit scoring outing and senior Kodee Powell scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half as the visitors built a big lead early and used a third-quarter run to solidify the win.

"Tonight was a good road win against a good team," said head coach Jeff Soderquist. "I thought we had a lot of people step up tonight; it was a good team effort. We still have things we can get better at, but a very good road win."

The Drovers (7-8, 5-2) entered the contest on a four-game winning streak, but 20 points from Dierra Ely on 8-of-17 shooting wasn't enough as the Golden Eagles shot 44.4 percent from the floor, hitting nine triples, and finishing the evening 24-of-31 from the free throw line.

Similar to the game on Saturday (Jan. 14) at Texas Wesleyan, John Brown carried a double-digit lead into the final quarter, only to have it evaporate to single digits. Just like Saturday, however, JBU was able to hang on despite the late run.

With already one double-digit lead gone, the visitors held a narrow 50-46 lead midway through the third quarter. Junior Luize Skrastina's jumper started an 11-run that featured a pair of buckets from junior Jana Schammel and a triple from Powell over the final 3:39 of the period. Armed with a 13-point lead, 61-48, the Golden Eagles looked to extend it further in the final quarter.

A Cameron triple and a pair of free throws from junior Courtney Fine pushed the margin to 17, 66-49, and 90 seconds later, the lead hit 20 when Fine's triple fell from behind the arc.

However, the Drovers out-scored JBU 21-12 over the final 6:39 of the contest to pull within eight at one point, 74-66. John Brown used a 7-of-10 mark at the charity stripe down the stretch to stave off the comeback attempt.

The Golden Eagles never trailed in the contest. Back-to-back game-opening layups from Cameron and Powell set the tone and a Skrastina trey extended the lead to nine, 14-5, midway through the first. Fine's layup with 16 seconds left offered JBU its second-straight double-digit lead exiting the first quarter (24-14).

Schammel came off the bench to provide 12 points while junior Kimmy Deines and Skrastina each added 10 points. The Golden Eagles racked up 19 assists on 24 field goals (79.2 percent) and earned a narrow 43-41 advantage on the glass.

After a four-game, 16-day hiatus from Bill George Arena, the Golden Eagles return to Siloam Springs on Saturday (Jan. 21) to welcome St. Gregory's (Okla.) for an unusual 3 p.m. start time.

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