On a cold-shooting Thursday night, the women of Southeastern fell just three points short of an impressive comeback in a 70-67 loss to Ouachita Baptist at Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
But the real culprit was not the Savage Storm’s 3-for-16 night behind the arc. Coach Darin Grover pointed to the Tigers’ offensive rebounds and second-chance baskets, as well as 20 Storm turnovers.
“If we don’t turn it over so often, we get more shots, and it’s that much more time you don’t have to play defense,” Grover said. “Defensively, we executed what we wanted to do. We just need to finish it off with defensive rebounding.”
Southeastern got out-boarded 45-41 in the game, with 18 offensive grabs for the Tigers. The home team fell behind by as much as 17 points in the second half before rallying to within three in the final minute.
Grover said the rally “does show progress and growth from our team.”
“We are inconsistent because we are young, but we do have fight in us,” he said. “But we can’t have the lows be so low and continue to let teams run up on us.”
The Savage Storm were only down 15-13 before a 17-6 OBU run. Brooke Lane and Cheree Kiser hit baskets to close the gap but the Tigers went on a 5-0 run before the half to lead 40-28 at the break.
Shelby Hill (a freshman from Melissa, Texas) and Bailey Welch hit critical free throws early in the second half before Kiser quickly scored six of her team-high 19 points to chip away at the OBU lead.
At 2:09, Welch hit a transition three which made it a five point game. Just over a minute later, Haley Schaefer dropped in one of her signature reverse layups, which would be the final points scored in the game by either team.
The ladies got their rebounding act together, fought hard for the ball on the defensive end and got the last possession. They got two looks at a game-tying three but could not find the bottom of the net.
Welch finished with 17 points and five assists, while Schaefer had 14 points. Emily Williams had 10 rebounds. The Savage Storm ladies shot 22-30 from the free throw line (73.3 percent).
Monica Williams of OBU had a monster game with 26 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to go with eight of the Tiger’s 19 turnovers.
Southeastern (6-12 this season) moves to 4-8 in conference play ahead of a Saturday home contest against Henderson State (10-7, 5-6 GAC). Ouachita Baptist remains in first place in the Great American Conference with a 10-2 mark and 15-3 overall this season.