Golden Eagles avenge last season; Soderquist joins 300-win club

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- In response to dropping both outings against Mid-America Christian (Okla.) in the 2015-16 season, sophomore Baily Cameron scored a team-best 28 points and the No. 23 John Brown University women's basketball team shot just shy of 50 percent, leading head coach Jeff Soderquist to his 300th-career victory with a 73-69 win over the Evangels on Saturday (Jan. 28) afternoon inside the Gaulke Activity Center.

For the first time since Dec. 3, Cameron broke the 20-point barrier, hitting 10-of-17 from the floor, and scored 11 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter in which JBU (15-6, 7-3 Sooner Athletic) entered with a two-point lead, 53-51.

The visitors, which have now won five straight, held a commanding 14-point lead just before the half, but a 24-18 third quarter rally by MACU (14-7, 5-5) tightened the contest leading into the final stanza.

In fact, only two players scored for John Brown in the final 10 minutes of play, as junior Rosa Orpo stepped up again for the second-consecutive outing by netting nine of her 11 points down the stretch.

The Evangels finally retook the lead, 56-55, with 8:33 left to play, but a Cameron and-one came on the ensuing the possession off a feed from junior Jana Schammel down low. Cameron continued the response run with another bucket 30 seconds later and Orpo mimicked Cameron by picking up her own old-fashioned three-point play at the 6:02 mark, also off a Schammel feed. With 5:22 left to play, Orpo again hit a bucket in the paint again, finishing off a timely 10-0 run.

With the margin again at double-digits, a pair of Cameron buckets kept the Golden Eagles with a lead, but four-straight MACU triples over a 3:27 span pulled the hosts within three, 71-69.

Two turnovers in the final 25 seconds allowed Mid-America Christian another shot at a triple, which was missed by Mykayla Flores, but after pulling down the rebound, an outlast pass was inadvertently thrown out of bounds by JBU. With one more shot at a tie or win, MACU inbounded the ball.

On the inbounds with three seconds left, senior Kodee Powell, with her back turned, unknowingly deflected the cross-court MACU pass and Orpo was able to come up with a steal, travel the length of the court and drop a layup in as time expired, sending Soderquist to his landmark victory. 

With 300 wins, Soderquist has the 12th-most wins among active NAIA Division I head women's basketball coaches.

Cameron finished the game with a double-double, her third of the season, adding 10 boards and a pair of steals to her bottom line. Orpo finished with 11 points, converting 5-of-7 from the field and Powell hit 4-of-9 from behind the arc to add 14 points in the win.

Flores scored a career-high 30 points in the loss for MACU, hitting eight triples and finishing 11-of-19 from the field. Sarai Rodriguez followed up with 18 points, but the Evangels hit just 42.6 percent of its attempts.

JBU returns to Bill George Arena on Thursday (Feb. 2) for a 6 p.m. matchup with Southwestern A.G. (Texas). SAGU took the first meeting of the season, 52-43, in which the Golden Eagles shot just 22 percent on the night.

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