Ottawa outscored Haskell 20-4 to erase a 42-36 deficit and build a 56-46 lead with 4:26 remaining in the game. The Lady Braves held on for a 63-57 victory.
“It is huge getting a win going into conference,” Ottawa coach Bruce Tate said. “That is something we talked about. They can easily get momentum if they make a big play then another big play ... which they did down the stretch.
“We pulled away mid-second half to give ourselves a cushion. We came up with a lot of empty possessions toward the end.
“It was silly mistakes ... not focusing on the defense end. Stuff that has been costing us ball games all year.
“We were up in this situation instead of being down. It is something we have to learn from. Hopefully we take this as a teachable moment.”
Ottawa (3-6) used the defense to turn the game around. The Lady Braves began anticipating passes and stepped into the passing lanes for steals.
“We made a big push there,” Tate said. “We got back in the game because of defense. We got some big steals and turnovers that turned into easy buckets.
Ottawa was aggressive offensively and hit big shots from all over the court.
“That run was huge,” Tate said. “Morgan Boore made two huge threes for us. That kind of got the separation.”
Ottawa scored its final seven points from the free-throw line in the final four minutes of the game.
The Lady Braves were 15-of-24 from the line in the second half.
“We missed free throws down the stretch,” Tate said. “We got to the free-throw line 24 times in the second half.
“We have to knock them down.”
The Indians rallied within 62-57 with 11 seconds remaining.
Amber Ramsey scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half to pace Ottawa. She also had six rebounds and two assists.
“She is a complete basketball player,” Tate said. “She is one of our leading scorers, rebounders, blocked shots, steals and assists. Not too many forwards that can do that in our league. She is a special player that can even be better.
“She was not being aggressive in the first half. We talked about that at halftime. She turned it around.”
Shauna McClure hit three treys in the first half as Ottawa led 26-25 at halftime. She finished with 15 points and five steals.
“Those threes she hit were big,” Tate said. “We were standing. We were being stagnant. We had some breakdowns at the end of the half.”
Tate said tonight’s Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference opener in Salina will not be easy against Kansas Wesleyan
“It will be a change of pace,” he said. “They play a tough schedule. They have a lot of firepower offensively. We will have to defend much better if we are going to get a win.”
Haskell (57) — Stands 4, Begay 2, Jessepe 14, Logan 4, Keo 6, Coriz 9, Gramling 6, Williams 12.
Ottawa (63) — Dowell 4, Ramsey 17, Meier 2, McClure 15, Buckles 8, Neptune 6, Thomas 2, Frazier 1, Boore 8.