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Late rally falls just short as OC loses 70-68 at TAMIU

Roz Hamilton set a single-game school record for attempted free throws in OC's loss at Texas A&M International.
Roz Hamilton set a single-game school record for attempted free throws in OC's loss at Texas A&M International.

LAREDO, Texas (Feb. 21, 2013) – Everything fell just right for Oklahoma Christian during the last two minutes as the Lady Eagles tried to rally Thursday night at Texas A&M International. Everything but the final shot.

OC held the Dustdevils scoreless during the final 2:17, but Katy O’Steen’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed, allowing TAMIU to escape with a 70-68 win.

OC (14-10) had a five-game winning streak end, while TAMIU (10-15) posted its second two-point win over the Lady Eagles this season. Tina Dang hit all six of her 3-point attempts en route to a 22-point, seven-rebound performance for the Dustdevils.

The Lady Eagles lost despite a 20-point, 18-rebound outing by junior forward Roz Hamilton. Hamilton continually used her height to get to the free-throw line and went 13-of-20, breaking the school record for free-throw attempts in a game. Kim Golden set the previous mark of 18 vs. Phillips on Feb. 8, 1990, and Lindsey Gipson matched it vs. Park (Mo.) on Nov. 17, 2007.

“We executed really well on offense, especially in the first half, but ultimately we had too many defensive breakdowns,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “They have a couple of really good shooters and we just didn’t stay with them.”

In the first half, freshman Sydney Hill scored 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting – making all four of her 3-point attempts – as OC led by as many as seven points before settling for a 42-38 halftime lead.

But TAMIU hung close and took the lead for good at 59-58 on a 3-pointer by Samantha Chacon with 6:36 left. That started an 8-0 run for the Dustdevils and they eventually pushed their advantage to 70-63 on a basket by Rosebud Guthrie with 2:19 left.

Those proved to be TAMIU’s final points, and Re’nikia Meshack, Malika Jackson and Amanda Mangan each missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity in the final 51 seconds. O’Steen’s basket with 1:33 left pulled OC within 70-65 and Hamilton went 1-of-2 from the line with 32 seconds left to make it a four-point game.

Hill scored on a put-back with 12 seconds left to make it 70-68. After Mangan missed with 11 seconds left, OC moved the ball into the frontcourt and called timeout with 2.4 seconds remaining and set up for the final play.

“We executed really well on the last play to get a wide-open three to win the game, but it didn’t fall,” Findley said.

TAMIU shot 49.1 percent from the field (27 of 55) and a sizzling 52.6 percent from 3-point range (10 of 19). Chacon hit 3-of-6 from behind the arc and scored 19 points to go with six assists.

Hill finished with 16 points and a team-high six rebounds for OC. Logan McKee added 13 points on 3-of-7 3-point shooting and O’Steen scored 11 points. Only three other Lady Eagles – Krista Stevens, Daisha Gonzaque and Andee Wayne – scored and none of them had more than three points. OC shot 36.8 percent from the field (21 of 57).