by: Dori Rapinchuk, C of O Sports Information
College of the Ozarks women’s basketball team returned to their winning ways on Friday in Lakeland, Florida, as they handily defeated Thomas University (Ga.) by a score of 93-48.
The Lady Bobcats’ defense proved quite stingy, as they held the Night Hawks to a meager 15 points in the first half. Meanwhile, senior Cass Johnson put up 14 points of her own to lead the Lady Cats, as they headed to the locker room with a 41-15 halftime advantage. Kelsie Cleeton also had a strong first half, collecting 8 points and 9 rebounds. The Lady Cats’ bench tallied 14 points.
The second half saw CofO’s sophomore guard Abby Oliver get hot. She went 6-10 from the field, draining 4-6 three-point attempts, to net 16 points in the half. Cass Johnson finished off her 4-6 first-half field goal shooting by going 8-10 on the day, hitting 5 of 7 from three-point range. Johnson led all scorers with 24 points and provided a game-leading 7 assists. Kelsie Cleeton added yet another double-double to her collection, hauling down a game-leading 14 rebounds while scoring 10 points. Annie Noah, the 6’-0 freshman center from Theodosia, recorded her best game of the season by scoring 14 points on 7-12 shooting and nabbing 9 rebounds.
On Thursday, C of O women’s basketball suffered their second loss of the season on Thursday, as they were defeated by No. 2 ranked NAIA DII Southeastern University, 83-66.
The two teams opened up the game with the tight matchup expected, and the Lady Cats held a one-point advantage at the close of the first quarter, 18-17. The second quarter found the Southeastern Fire heating up, as they held the Lady Cats to only 12 points while scoring 24 of their own to take a 41-30 lead into halftime.
Southeastern came out strong again in the third quarter with a 22-14 advantage to up their lead to 19 points heading into the fourth. The Lady Cats kept pace in the fourth with a 22-20 edge, but it was not nearly enough to win the day.
College of the Ozarks’ women move to 11-3 on the season. They will head to Bellevue, Neb. next weekend to take on two tough competitors in the Bellevue Classic. The Lady Cats will face NAIA DII #15 ranked Hastings College on Friday and Bellevue University (10-5) on Saturday, who is receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches Poll.