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OCU Women Repeat As National Champs

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Oklahoma City University powered its way to an 80-63 victory over Campbellsville (Ky.) to repeat as NAIA Division I women's basketball champion Tuesday at the Independence Events Center.

Second-ranked Oklahoma City (30-2) captured its third national title in four years and eighth overall national crown to lead NAIA women's basketball. OCU reached 30 wins for the 11th time in 15 years.

OCU now has 59 national championships in all sports. The Stars have won national titles in NAIA men's cross country, cheerleading and now women's basketball in 2014-15.

Fourth-ranked Campbellsville ended its season 33-4 with its finest national finish ever. The Stars knocked Campbellsville out of the 2014 national tournament in the quarterfinals.

Rateska Brown, a senior from Alvin, S.C., boosted Oklahoma City with 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Brown provided OCU with 19.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.00 steals a game during the tournament to earn first-team all-tournament accolades.

OCU's Yvonte Neal, a senior from Spring Valley, Calif., pitched in 11 points and five rebounds. Neal took tournament most valuable player as she posted 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.00 thefts a contest during the Stars' championship run.

The Stars' Ouleymatou Coulibaly, a senior from Bamako, Mali, West Africa, produced 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Coulibaly became a second-team all-tournament selection with her tournament numbers of 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a game with 56.4 percent shooting from the field.

Marisha Wallace, a senior from Midwest City, Okla., added 11 points and nine rebounds, and Janay Borum, a senior from Upper Marlboro, Md., picked up four points, four rebounds, nine assists and three steals for Oklahoma City.

The Stars owned the glass, piling up a 56-24 rebounding advantage and 27 offensive boards. OCU built advantages in points in the paint (40-16) and second-chance points (16-5).

“I knew one of our strengths was offensive transition, so we had to get one and done,” OCU coach Latricia Trammell said. “If we kept rebounding and pushing it, we had a great chance at this. We always preach offensive rebounding.”

Trammell took her second consecutive Phyllis Holmes coach of the year award. She improved to 85-10 in three season as OCU coach. Trammell earned her 150th victory as a college coach, moving to 150-86 in seven years, including four as Western State (Colo.) boss.

“It is absolutely amazing,” Trammell said. “It feels just as good as it did last year, especially with this group of seniors. I am so proud of our girls. They really fought this game.

“We wanted it, and we knew this was it. I knew we had to continue to rebound and do what we do best – and that is transition – and I thought we did a really good job with that.”

OCU used eight unanswered points to create a first-half 12-point lead. Coulibaly rejected a Lindsey Burd shot, then scored in transition off Borum's assist. Brown hit free throws, then Catherine Kruschke knocked in a putback. Brown capped the run with a bucket off Neal's setup to put the Stars in front 29-17 with 5:32 left in the first half.

The Stars tacked on a 10-1 spree. Brown ignited the run by jab-stepping, then nailing a 3-pointer. Neal drilled a trey, and Brown tallied a fastbreak basket off Borum's steal and feed. Neal had a breakaway layup using Brown's help for a 39-23 OCU advantage with 1:25 to go before halftime.

In the second half, Neal canned a trey to put the Stars ahead 46-28 with 17:03 to go. OCU matched that 18-point cushion when Brown buried a 3 for a 65-47 advantage at the 7:04 mark.

Campbellsville chipped away the OCU lead. Kristen Jacob's jumper cut the Stars' margin to 70-60 with 3:47 showing.

Wallace answered with four free throws to fortify the OCU lead. Brown and Borum tacked on foul shots to salt away the Stars' championship.

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