The Ottawa University women’s basketball players proved to have a lot of resolve. The Lady Braves were coming off a poor performance Thursday in a loss to conference-leader Tabor.
Ottawa had a spirited practice Friday in preparation for Saturday’s game versus Bethel. It carried over into the game.
The Lady Braves roared out of the gate only to see Bethel rally back in the second half.
Ottawa stayed strong and closed out Bethel with a 20-2 run over the final 6:32 of the game for a 68-50 victory in North Newton.
“Whatever happens good or bad, believe in your defense,” Ottawa coach Bruce Tate told his players. “Games are made of runs. Control what you can control. It is not the situation they are in, it is how you respond. We responded the last six minutes pretty well.”
Ottawa had things going its way in the first half, shooting 51 percent from the field and built a 31-10 lead.
The Lady Braves had a rough second half with shots not falling and turnovers. Bethel rallied to tie it a 48-48 with 6:32 left.
“Bethel is a scrappy bunch,” Tate said. “They are not going to quit. They fought back into it. Our defense allowed us to stay in the game.”
Ottawa junior Amber Ramsey sparked Ottawa with her aggressive play late in the game. She scored seven of her 20 points in the final run and snared several rebounds.
“Amber made big plays down the stretch,” Tate said. “That shows a lot of mental toughness. That is the way you respond. She is our anchor. She wants that responsibility. She is one of the best players in the conference.”
Ottawa, which scored just 32 points against Tabor, worked hard on shooting and other areas during Friday’s practice and Saturday’s shoot around.
“We had a great practice,” Tate said. “We were intense. It was not a usual pregame practice. We worked on competing. It was a different bunch. We were lively. We stayed strong.
“We shot the ball a lot. We shot more shots in shoot around. After Thursday, we needed to get out to a good start. They have to keep believing in the defensive end. Offensively, we have our struggles.”
MiKayla Skidmore sparked Ottawa in the first half by scoring all 12 of her points. Kelsi Meier tossed in 11, including a big trey in the final run. Shauna McClure finished with 11 points.
Ottawa (6-10, 2-4) plays 6 p.m. Thursday at home against nationally-ranked Southwestern (10-5, 5-1).
Bethel (50) — Durant 8, Eubenkamp 2, Ulrich 15, Regier 9, Wilkerson 3, Scott 2, Tschetter 8, Bright 3.
Ottawa (68) — Dowell 4, Ramsey 20, Meier 11, McClure 10, Neptune 3, Skidmore 12, Frazier 3, Boore 5.