From: C of O Sports Information
College of the Ozarks went on the road to challenge the Cougars of Columbia College, currently ranked #9 in NAIA Division 1. Despite a valiant effort in the second half from the young C of O bench, the Cougars would use a hot start to win, 76-64.
The Cougars opened the game on an 11-0 run, which they would turn into a 13-point lead by the end of the first frame, largely due to shooting 6 for 7 from distance. C of O answered with a 13-2 run in the second quarter to trim the lead to just four points going into halftime, 39-35.
Aleksei Smith was the only Lady Bobcat starter not to struggle scoring, tallying nine points on an efficient 3 for 3 from the field. For the half, C of O shot 13 for 31 (41.9%) from field goal range and 7 for 19 (36.8%) from distance. The Cougars countered with a blistering 16 for 31 (51.6%) from the field and 7 for 8 (87.5%) from the three-point line.
To open second half, the Lady Bobcats did a much better job defensively challenging the Cougars from distance. In fact, Columbia went 0 for 6 in the second half from downtown.
“We put ourselves in a bad spot down 17 in the first half. Our bench came in and played fantastic. They got us back in the game and gave us a chance,” commented Coach Becky Mullis.
Among those fantastic bench players, freshman Julie Stone scored eight of her 12 points in the second half to give the Lady Bobcats a quick jolt. Stone connected on a pair of three-point shots and setup teammates with a team high four assists. Stone’s impact was not limited to offense only, as she grabbed three steals for the game. Fellow freshman Kayley Frank came off the bench and scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds, three of which were offensive, to aid the Lady Bobcats second half offense.
Early in the fourth quarter, a Julie Stone steal turned into an assist by Annie Noah, who hit a cutting Harper Little to trim the lead to just six points, 57-51. Freshman Harper Little played fantastic throughout the game, leading the Lady Bobcats from the bench in points, rebounds, and steals. Little scored 17 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and stole the ball four times. Unfortunately, the Cougars struck back quickly with a 6-0 run and never really looked back.
For the game, the Cougars shot 31 for 61 (50.8%) from field goal range, rebounded the ball 38 times, and had 15 turnovers. C of O countered with 30 rebounds, 14 turnovers, and shot 23 for 57 (40.4%) from the field.
While it is always tough to lose, there was plenty to be encouraged about for C of O, including the Lady Bobcat bench outscoring the Cougars bench 45-19.
Coach Mullis stated, “We are disappointed in the outcome, but not discouraged. We will learn from it and it will make us better in the long run.”
With the loss, College of the Ozarks falls to 6-2 on the season. Columbia College improved to 4-0.
One important note, the Lady Bobcat game scheduled for Wednesday at Haskell has been rescheduled to February 18th. So, the next Lady Bobcat game will be against John Brown University at their place, Saturday, December 7th at 2:00 PM.