OKLAHOMA CITY – Wayland Baptist fell behind early, caught up but couldn’t hold on as the Flying Queens fell to Southwestern Christian University in the championship game of the Oklahoma Ford Dealers Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament here Tuesday, 70-60.

The win gives the sixth-seeded Lady Eagles (17-13) their first SAC Tourney title and first-ever trip to the NAIA National Championships, while Wayland (21-10), ranked the equivalent of 35th, is expected to earn an at-large bid. The bracket for that 64-team event, which begins at 16 campus sites throughout the country, will be announced at 6 p.m. Thursday on the NAIA’s YouTube channel.

The Lady Eagles, who knocked off third-seeded Science & Arts of Oklahoma and No. 7 seed Langston in the first two rounds, raced to an 11-2 lead and later in the first quarter went up by 14 points. An unusual second period saw the teams combine to score just 11 points, nine of those by Wayland as the Queens pulled to within 28-23 at the half.

In the second period, SCU – after scoring 26 points in the first 10 minutes – went 1-of-15 from the field with five turnovers; WBU was 4-of-14 with three giveaways.

Wayland cut it to one on a couple of occasions in the third and, after a late 3-pointer by Taryn Shultz, trailed by two, 40-38, going into the fourth.

A bucket by Jenna Cooper-Jackson less than a minute into the final period tied it, then back-to-back baskets by Ellie Bruffey and Kaitlyn Edgemon gave Wayland its first lead of the game, 44-43, with seven minutes to play.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as the Lady Eagles went up for good with 4:18 to play as part of a 7-0 run. The Queens trailed by six with a little over a minute on the clock, but they missed a 3-pointer and a free throw that allowed the Lady Eagles a chance to stretch their lead.

SCU sealed their third win this season over Wayland in as many tries by hitting 9-of-10 free throws in the final 69 seconds.

The loss ended Wayland’s nine-game winning streak, which started right after the Flying Queens lost to SCU in Bethany, Okla., on Jan. 28, 67-48. WBU’s streak featured a victory over No. 18 USAO and two wins over SAC regular-season champion and 17th-ranked Texas Wesleyan, most recently an 86-84 overtime triumph in Monday afternoon’s semifinals.

WBU suffered through its worst 3-point shooting effort of the season: 2-for-16 (13 percent). The Lady Eagles finished 7-of-17 (41 percent) from beyond the arc. SCU also outscored the Queens from the free-throw line by 11 (19-of-24 compared to 8-of-10) and outrebounded Wayland by 10.

Cooper-Jackson led all scorers with 23 points while Kaitlyn Edgemon had 13, although the dynamic duo – both named to the SAC All-Tournament Team – each went 0-for-5 from 3-point range. Taylor Houston chipped in 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The six Lady Eagles who scored put in between eight and 17 points, led by Tresha Yager who hit 4-of-8 3s.


source: wbuathletics.com

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