Clarksville, Ark.-The Lady Eagles took over first place in the American Southwest Conference East division with a 78-66 win over Mississippi College while the Eagles dropped a 86-66 decision to the Choctaws.
The Lady Eagles (13-3), (5-1) came into the contest one game behind the Lady Choctaws in the conference standings. With the win, U of O takes over sole possession of first place and Mississippi College falls to 12-5 and 5-2 in the conference. U of O trailed 32-30 with 2:32 left in the first half, but used a 12 point surge to take a 42-38 lead at halftime. The Lady Eagles got help from hot free throw shooting, hitting 15 of 16 from the charity stripe in the first half. "Anytime you can get a run like that on a team of Mississippi College’s caliber, it’s going to be a big plus," said head coach Jack Jones. "We got momentum and carried it over into the second half. The confidence of our players was really high going into the second half." The Lady Eagles controlled the second half thanks to a balanced scoring attack and strong bench play. Six players scored in double figures for U of O. "Our balanced scoring was defiantly a key," said Jones. "That makes a big difference because Mississippi College was unable to key on one player. And I can’t say enough about our bench play." Kristy Watts led the charge with 13 points and grabbed a team high nine rebounds. Mandy Thomas scored 12 points and Jenna Corbell had 11 points. Jacqueline Taylor, Charity Tyree and Christie Shuffield each scored 10 points. The Eagles fall to 5-1 in conference play and Mississippi College improves to 6-1 in ASC action. The Choctaws used their size and depth to outlast a much smaller Eagle team. Mississippi College held a 39-35 lead at intermission behind the tough post play of All-American candidate Karlos Fairley. Fairley scored 14 of his game high 22 points in the first half. Nonetheless, the scrappy Eagles rode Brent Johnson’s 13 first half points to hang with the Choctaws and held a 17-14 rebounding advantage at intermission. "This was a game where we needed a little more depth," said head coach Matt O’Connor. "There wasn’t much in the tank near the end of the game. It was just a tough match-up for us." The Eagles (12-6), (5-1) turned to the hot shooting hand of Ricky Johnson in the second half to pull within three points at the 7:44 mark. Johnson, who hit 5 of 8 three-pointers in the game, nailed a trey to make the score 63-60. However, the Choctaws would quickly answer back and take a double-digit lead within the span of four minutes. Ricky Johnson led U of O with 18 points and Brent Johnson finished with 17 points. Mandrell Howell also scored in double figures with 11 points. Brent Johnson led the Eagles with six rebounds. Both the Lady Eagles and Eagles will travel to Pineville, Louisiana on January 31 to take on Louisiana College in ASC action.