SSU Sports Information
FRANKFORT, Ky. – A furious second half comeback fell just short for fifth-seeded women’s basketball in the NAIA Tournament Second Round as the Bears (24-10) fell to top-seeded Oklahoma City (28-3), 56-54. The Bears trailed by 18 points at the half after scoring a program-low 10 points in the first 20 minutes, but outscored the Stars 41-25 in the second half and had multiple chances down the stretch to either tie or take the lead. However, they could not come all the way back as the potential game-winning shot as time expired would not go down.
With the loss, the Bears now sit at 27-17 all-time in NAIA Tournament games. This includes a 6-8 mark during the NAIA Second Round. The Bears are now 5-5 when they are the underdogs according to tournament seeding.
Alannah Sheets played a large role in the second half rally as she finished with a game-high 27 points, all but two of which came during the final 20 minutes. Schera Sampson also finished the game with 16 points in her final game in a Bears’ uniform while fellow senior Alex Pohl finished with 11 rebounds. Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year Lauren Gober led the Stars with 16 points. Her teammate, Desiree Jeffries also added 10 points.
The first half saw the Bears battle neck-and-neck with their counterparts and hold a lead on two separate occasions very early on. Oklahoma City went on a quick little 6-0 run to go up 9-7 but Sheets’ only points of the opening half would tie the game at nine-all with 13:05 to play in the opening half.
However, a 5:20 scoring draught from the Bears would allow the Stars to take a 19-9 advantage with 7:45 left in the half. A free throw from Desirai Smith would break the draught but it was only momentarily as the Bears did not score another point until there were just 34 seconds left in the half. Before a final and-one conversion by Sampson at that time, the Bears had scored just the one point over 12:29 of play time. This allowed Oklahoma a 31-13 lead at the half.
Eight quick points from Sheets in first three-and-a-half minutes of the second half helped bring the Bears back to 11, 34-23, with 16:30 just in the game. The Stars would get that lead back up to 15 with a brief burst but SSU cut that deficit under 10 for the first time in the second half after a three from Sheets brought the Bears within eight, 43-35, at the 11:09 mark.
The Stars answered with a quick basket but the Bears got to the line on each of their next three possessions and a 1-of-2 from Smith and 3-of-4 from Sheets at the line got the game to within six, 45-39, with 7:17 left in the game.
The Bears never got that close again until 2:37 left in the game when two free throws from both Smith and Sampson on back-to-back trips made the score 55-49. The Bears would force a jump ball on the next Stars’ possession and when the arrow pointed in SSU’s direction, Sheets made it just a three-point game, 55-52, with another three at the 2:19 mark.
On the next Oklahoma City trip down the court, the Bears forced the outright turnover and found Sampson at the other end for the basket to make it a one-point game, 55-54, with 1:48 left on the game clock.
Making her presence known on the defensive end of the court, Sheets came up with the steal on the ensuing possession. However, the Bears next offensive set would see the initial go-ahead shot attempt blocked and a second chance would also miss while the Stars got to the foul line with 37 seconds remaining at the other end of the floor.
Further adding to the drama, Oklahoma City missed both ends of the double bonus and Shawnee State had another shot at the victory after a timeout from the SSU bench. However, the Bears never got anything substantial initiated out of the called timeout and rushed a jumper and were forced to foul with seven seconds on the clock.
The Stars would make the front end of the double bonus and the ball went out of bounds with seconds remaining and SSU used its final timeout of the game. The Bears had to go the full court with six seconds and Sampson had a look from inside the 3-point line. She would hit the iron but it would not drop as Oklahoma City escaped with the 56-54 victory.
The Bears conclude the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 24-10. Today’s game also marked the final game in a Bears’ uniform for the five members of its senior class – Allison Nagle, Alex Pohl, Schera Sampson, Tristan Rumfield and Kayla Wiley.
During the past four seasons, this group has helped the Bears make four consecutive NAIA Second Round appearances. As freshmen, they were a part of the team that went to the 2010 National Championship game and made it back to the Fab Four the following season as sophomores.