Alva Review-Courier -

By Eric Scott
NWOSU Sports 

Defensive play key in Lady Rangers' 53-42 win over Cotton Blossoms


February 3, 2019

MONTICELLO, Ark. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University Lady Rangers closed the month of January on a high note Thursday night with a 53-42 Great American Conference victory over Arkansas-Monticello on the road.

Northwestern had struggled after falling to the Cotton Blossoms on Jan. 5 inside Percefull Fieldhouse. However, the Lady Rangers avenged the loss in a big way, holding UAM to just 11 points in the second half in the second meeting.

The win moved the Lady Rangers record to 7-13 overall and 4-9 in the GAC, while the Cotton Blossoms fell to 5-13 and 4-9.

The Lady Ranger defense held the Cotton Blossoms to their second lowest scoring output of the season by forcing them into a bad shots and causing turnovers. UAM had 19 turnovers in the contest and shot just 26.5-percent from the field.

It was the fewest points allowed by the Lady Rangers since holding Newman (Kan.) to only 41 points December of 2017.

Early in the game it appeared it would be a back and forth game, much like the first showdown in Alva with the Lady Rangers holding on to a 14-13 lead after the first quarter. However, the story of the game became runs established by both teams.

Jakeria Otey started the second quarter strong for the Lady Rangers with three of her 16 points in the game. But the Cotton Blossoms answered with a 12-0 run to overtime the Lady Rangers and make it a seven-point advantage for the home team.

Later in the second quarter, the Cotton Blossoms extended their lead to 31-21 with a minute remaining in the half, but a pair of Otey free-throws and a Presley Payahsape drive the bucket at the buzzer cut the lead to six.

The second half was a much different story. Of the 11 points by the Cotton Blossoms got three on the first basket of the second half before Kyleigh Leverich, who made her first career start in the win, knocked down a quickly in the following Lady Ranger possession.

Leverich’s three kick started a 14-2 run by the Lady Rangers to retake the lead with just over three minutes to go in the third.

Including the final basket of the third quarter, Northwestern went on another 15-4 run over the final 11 and a half minutes of the game as the defense held the Cotton Blossoms scoreless in the last four minutes. The Lady Rangers didn’t allow a field goal in the fourth quarter.

Northwestern had a balanced effort offensively with Otey finishing as the lone Lady Ranger in double-figures. Kalea King just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, as did Bailey Brown with eight points and a team high 10 rebounds.

Payahsape added seven points for the Lady Rangers, Leverich finished with six points, Bailey Forell had four points and McKenzie Billy hit a shot from behind the arc.

The Lady Rangers had the upper hand in the paint in the win as they outscored UAM 20-10 down low and pulled down four more rebounds.


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