No. 5 seed Central Okla. moves on
Bronchos go 10 for 10 at line in last four minutes to advance
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Central Oklahoma, the No. 5 seed in the South Central Regional, outscored Northeastern State 16-4 during the final 3:45 and advanced to Monday's regional title game with a stunning 68-60 win at Dobbins Field House Saturday night.
The Bronchos (22-9) overcame a 47-37 deficit with 9:43 left to hand the 11th-ranked RiverHawks their only home loss of the year. NSU, which ended its season at 25-5, had won 21 consecutive home games before Saturday's loss in the regional semifinals.
"They (UCO) made some plays and they present some size mismatches that are difficult to defend," said head coach Randy Gipson. "I think it wore us down a little bit and we got in foul trouble. A big thing was that they did a great job hitting free throws (18-of-23)."
UCO was 18-for-23 at the charity stripe including 10-of-10 during the last 3:45 to earn the victory.
Ashley Beckley scored eight of her game-high 22 points during the stretch and she finished with 12 rebounds to earn a double-double. Teammate Alex Richardson also turned in a double-double with 19 points and 10 caroms.
The RiverHawks shot just 34.9 percent from the floor (22-of-63) and were 8-of-30 from behind the arc. NSU's poor shooting effort, and Central Oklahoma's ability to control the tempo, were certainly factors, according to Bronchos' head coach Guy Hardaker.
The Bronchos didn't shoot particularly well either, hitting only 37.9 percenet (22-of-58) for the game.
Northeastern State led 27-25 at halftime despite Jasmine Webb, the team's only senior who took team-high scoring honors with 20 points, mired in a 1-for-8 shooting effort with five points. Webb ended her 4-year NSU career as the school's 3rd all-time leading scorer with 1,265 points. She had 394 this season and said she is proud of what she and her teammates have accomplished.
Leading by one, 38-37 at the 11:21 mark, the RiverHawks reeled off a flurry with Webb scoring six straight points and Jasmine Wright adding a trey to put the team ahead 47-37 just 1:38 later. However, the RiverHawks made only three baskets over the next 9:27.
Tosha Tyler and Wright had 12 points apiece while leading scorer Taylor Lewis was limited to just five on a 2-for-11 shooting night.