Clarksville, Ark.-UT-Tyler defeated the Lady Eagles 80-73 in American Southwest Conference play on Saturday afternoon.
Ozarks held a 40-39 halftime advantage, but gave up the lead early in the second half and couldn’t gain it back. "We were in the game all the way until the end and that was to a team that has a much better record than we do," said head U of O coach Kelly Stutz. "Positives can come out of losses and one of those positives was on the defensive end. We played our zone defense effective for the first time all season. This team really understands that when you play hard good things will happen. I give them a lot of credit for hanging in there in another close ball game. We are definitely improving and we are excited about the future because of that." With the Lady Patriots leading 70-61 at the 5:46 mark, Ozarks went on an 8-0 run over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to 70-69. But that would be as close as they would get. Freshman center Olivia Fisher had her way with the Lady Patriots, recording her second double-double in as many games. Fisher scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in the loss. Fisher has double-doubles in three of Ozarks’ last four games. Erica Eneks added 21 points and Karen Garcia contributed 12 points. "When you look at us from when we started our first game in November and then now, you can’t even hardly identify us as the same team," said Stutz. "The game is starting to slow down for them a little bit. This is a good group and they want to win and work hard. We talk all the time about our goal of wanting to get better on a daily basis. They understand how they have to give it their all to be able to do that." Ozarks will travel to Longview, Texas, to face LeTourneau University on January 20 and Marshall, Texas, to face East Texas Baptist University on January 22.