Parris Price scored a career-high 32 points and Kourtni Williams added 21 to power the eighth-seeded Mid-America Christian University Lady Evangels to a 69-64 victory over the USAO Drovers in the first round of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday evening (Feb. 27) at the Noble Complex on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla.
The win moves the Lady Evangels into a quarterfinal matchup tomorrow afternoon (Feb. 28) against the top-seeded and No. 2-ranked (NAIA) Oklahoma City University Stars at 2:15 p.m.
The Lady Evangels never trailed and led by as much as 14, but the ninth-seeded Drovers pulled even on a layup from Paige Pulliam and a score from Rocio Medrano that made it 44-44 with 11:34 left.
It was 46-46 when Williams scored six points and a layup from Parris Price quickly put the Lady Evangels back in front 54-48 at the 7:22 mark of the second half.
A basket by Tashina Ototivo brought the Drovers back to 56-54, but Price scored six points of an 8-0 run that extended the lead back to double-figures with 1:39 remaining.
Pulliam wouldn't let the Drovers go quietly by hitting two from beyond the arc and then a free-throw that brought USAO within 67-61 with 34 seconds left.
But Price put it away with a pair of freebies with 14 seconds left that stretched the lead back to a three-possession game.
Five quick points from Williams and a three by April Williams got of the Lady Evangels off to an 8-2 start and a banked in three from Price gave MACU an early 11-4 advantage.
The Drovers got back into it as a three from Pulliam capped a 9-2 spurt that made it 13-13.
Williams quickly ended the spurt with a three-point play and five points from Sarah Martin put the Lady Evangels back on top 21-13 at the 10:56 mark of the first half.
Consecutive buckets by Medrano sparked a 6-1 run that made it a three-point game, but Price answered with nine points that fueled an 11-0 run that gave the Lady Evangels their largest lead of the half at 33-19 with 2:26 left.
The Lady Evangels held the Drovers scoreless over that five minute span and Price did the work offensively with a driving layup, four free-throws and then capped the run a three.
USAO answered as Krista Ford hit a layup to help the Drovers end the half on a 7-1 run to come within 34-26 at the break.
Price shot 9-of16 overall from the field and hit 12-of-16 from the charity stripe for her game-high 32 points to go along with eight rebounds and a team-high five assists. Williams was 9-of-18 from the field and also secured eight boards.
Medrano led the Drovers with 22 points and Pulliam added 16. Ototivo recorded a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Lady Evangels (14-14) overcame a 43-35 deficit on the glass by out-shooting the Drovers 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the floor to only a 38.7 percent (28-of-73) clip for USAO.