Huge margin evaporates late, but women’s basketball holds on

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- The No. 17 John Brown University women's basketball team dominated in every facet for the first 30 minutes of the game, but Texas Wesleyan made a late 17-point charge to pull close, but the Golden Eagles held on 70-58 on Thursday (Feb. 23) inside Bill George Arena, and received help from elsewhere in the conference.

Holding onto the 12-point margin, the Golden Eagles (21-7, 13-4 Sooner Athletic) finish the regular season 13-2 inside BGA and have now won 11 of its last 12 games. JBU moved into a tie for second place as Southwestern Christian (Okla.) took a stunning upset win over No. 13 Wayland Baptist (Texas) in Plainview.

Reigning SAC Player of the Week Baily Cameron turned in a monstrous first half, hitting 8-of-11 from the floor to pile up 19 points, eyeing the John Brown all-time single game record of 41. However, foul trouble and the hosts shooting woes in the fourth quarter, just 21.4 percent from the field, ended the hopes of an individual honor as the visitors closed a daunting gap (25) down to single digits in the final minutes of play.

A 21-4 fourth-quarter-opening rally by the Rams (17-11, 9-8) pulled the visitors to within eight, 66-58, with just 1:42 left in the game, but a Jana Schammel runner in the lane and a pair of free throws from senior Kodee Powell stemmed the strong, but late, Wesleyan comeback effort.

Cameron finished the contest with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, grabbing eight boards in the process. Schammel again proved valuable off the bench by contributing 18 points on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting behind the arc. Powell and junior Kimmy Deines each handed out five assists as an impressive 88 percent of Golden Eagle buckets were assisted.

A meager 36.1 percent shooting mark through three quarters proved too difficult to overcome for the Rams, who were paced by four double-digit scorers. Katelynn Threats, Baily Broadnax and Nicole Gleason each scored 12 points as Ashlie Bruner added 10 and eight boards in the loss.

Wesleyan shot just 6-of-23 from long range (26.1 percent) throughout the contest and committed 16 turnovers.

The Golden Eagles responded with three-fourths of an impressive triple barrage, the nation's best, as the hosts sunk 12-of-26 through three quarters, including a 7-of-13 mark in the third period. Conversely, an 0-of-7 mark from behind the arc in the fourth reduced JBU's efficiency to 36.4 percent on the night.

John Brown will complete the regular season on Saturday (Feb. 25) when it travels to Bethany, Okla. to take on Southwestern Christian at 3 p.m. With a victory and a Wayland Baptist loss, JBU will clinch the second seed in next week's SAC tournament. A WBU win or a Golden Eagle loss confirms John Brown's third slot in the tournament.

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