Down to only six players after the opening moments of the game, the Mid-America Christian University Lady Evangels gave a valiant effort but came up short to the tune of 80-47 to the No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma City University Stars in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday afternoon (Feb. 28) at the Noble Complex on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla.
Already without senior guard and second-leading scorer Parris Price due to a family issue, the Lady Evangels then lost leading scorer and rebounder Kourtni Williams to an injury just 1:47 into the game.
After three free throws by Chelsea Key made it 4-3 early, the Stars surged to a commanding lead as Katie Hall and Jessica Lankston combined for 11 points of a 15-0 spurt that pulled OCU out to a 16-point edge.
A three by April Williams snapped the 15 straight by the Stars, but Lauren Gober answered with a three to start a 7-0 run that built the lead to 26-6 and OCU took a 35-16 lead into the break.
The Stars then opened the second half by scoring six of the first eight points, before a jumper by Makenzie York cut the lead to 21 and Sarah Martin nailed a three to bring the Lady Evangels to within 43-23 at the 17:05 mark of the second half.
Kelsie Dutton later scored to keep the Lady Evangels down only 48-27 when the Stars pulled away for good as a bucket by Gober capped a 13-2 run for a 61-29 lead with 7:44 to go.
Key wound up with a career-high 13 points for the Lady Evangels, who finish their season at 14-15 overall. Key was 2-of-5 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Martin also scored 13 and Dutton tied her career-best output with 10 points. April Williams had six points along with a career-high tying seven rebounds.
Hall paced the Stars with a game-high 20 points and Desiree Jeffries added 12.
This season featured the Lady Evangels getting off to their best start since joining the NAIA at 9-1 and also winning their first SAC Tournament game since the 2008-09 season.