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Hot-shooting St. Edward’s pulls away late to beat OC 77-64

OC coach Stephanie Findley (middle, in gray) talks to her team during a timeout Saturday in the loss at St. Edward's.
OC coach Stephanie Findley (middle, in gray) talks to her team during a timeout Saturday in the loss at St. Edward's.

AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 12, 2013) – Dawn Kiel scored 19 points and St. Edward’s (Texas) shot a sizzling 64.7 percent from 3-point range, pulling away late for a 77-64 win over Oklahoma Christian on Saturday at the Recreation and Convocation Center.

OC (9-8) led briefly during the second half but the Lady Eagles went more than 10 minutes without a field goal, allowing St. Edward’s (9-5) to build a double-digit lead in the first meeting between the teams since the 1998-99 season. The Hilltoppers and OC will meet twice annually now as Heartland Conference foes.

The Lady Eagles split this week’s Heartland road trip, winning at McMurry (Texas) in Abilene on Thursday before a trip across the Lone Star State for Saturday’s game.

“We were sluggish,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “We were sluggish moving on defense. We were sluggish in the way we were executing our offense.  It may just be part of the travel or it may be the conditions we traveled in. But we’ve got to try to figure out how we want to do these road trips in the future.”

St. Edward’s concentrated on limiting OC’s top scorer, Katy O’Steen, and was effective in doing so, holding her to six points on 1-of-6 shooting. Roz Hamilton scored a career-high 19 points and the Lady Eagles shot a respectable 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range, but they couldn’t match the Hilltoppers, who hit 11-of-17 from behind the arc.

“Our execution was bad on both ends,” Findley said. “We weren’t getting the ball where we wanted it on offense and when we got it inside to Katy, they were triple-teaming her and she was not getting the ball back out where we can get open looks from the outside, either. You’ve got to credit them. They play a good sagging man-to-man help defense in there.”

Stephanie Dekkers went 4-of-7 from 3-point range and recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists for St. Edward’s, while Kiel hit 3-of-4 and Kelsee Barr went 2-of-3 from long range.

“They were shooting lights-out,” Findley said. “As a team, they have not shot that way this year. They were having a good night and that means we’ve got to turn it up defensively and we weren’t able to match that.”

OC jumped to a quick 14-6 lead in the first 4½ minutes, as Hamilton hit two of her three 3-pointers en route to a 15-point first-half effort. The lead went back and forth before Kiel’s basket at the halftime buzzer put the Hilltoppers up 39-37.

Logan McKee hit two 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half and her second one gave OC a 44-43 lead with 15:10 left. Another 3-pointer, by Kaitlyn Morris, pulled the Lady Eagles within 48-47 with 14:07 left, but OC didn’t record another field goal until McKee scored on a put-back with 4:03 left. In between, St. Edward’s went on a 22-7 run.

The Hilltoppers led by as many as 16 points in the final minutes. St. Edward’s outrebounded OC 35-25.

McKee scored 11 points and Sydney Hill had 10 for the Lady Eagles. Erika Rousculp added 11 points for the Hilltoppers on 5-of-6 shooting.

OC will be off until Jan. 24, when the Lady Eagles host Texas A&M International.