WICHITA — The Ottawa University women’s basketball team can’t get over the hump this season in close games. Ottawa opened the season with two one-point losses.
On Thursday, Friends and Ottawa were embroiled in a tight affair and it came down to the final second. Friends snapped a 49-49 tie by hitting a shot with about six seconds remaining to send Ottawa to a 51-49 defeat in Wichita.
The last few minutes were nip-and-tuck. Friends tied the game at 47-47 with 1:06 left. Friends then took its first lead of the second half, 49-47, with 28 seconds remaining in regulation. Ottawa tied the game on Mariah Grizzle’s basket with 19 seconds left. Friends looked to take the last shot. With six seconds remaining, Naria Hall’s shot found the bottom of the net to give Friends the lead. Ottawa was not able to answer.
Ottawa got off to a rocky start, hitting just one shot in the first quarter. Ottawa fell behind 7-0 and hit its only field goal of the first quarter with six minutes left. Ottawa rallied back from a 15-4 deficit to close within 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Ottawa’s offense came to life in the second quarter. Jennifer Anthony’s 3-pointer gave Ottawa a 26-18 lead. Anthony’s trey at the buzzer gave Ottawa a 32-22 halftime lead.
Ottawa maintained its lead throughout the third quarter with Lady Braves leading 39-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ottawa shot 33% from the field. Anthony paced Ottawa with 11 points. Grizzle had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Braves were coming off their first win of the season Monday in Wilson Field House. Ottawa bested Bethel, 66-49. Ottawa led 13-4 in the first quarter and never looked back.
“We did a great job of coming out and being aggressive,” Ottawa coach Bruce Tate said. “That was great to see to have that energy and intensity. Mainly on the defensive end. It was great to have our defense create offense.”
Ottawa forced 24 turnovers and limited Bethel to 33% shooting. Ottawa finally found the mark at the free-throw line, hitting 24 of 30 from the line.
“If we had been shooting free throws the same way that changes the complexion of the game,” Tate said. “That puts more pressure on their offense to go execute.”
The Lady Braves had three players in double figures, led by Avery Lewman’s 14 points. Madi McAvoy scored 13 points, had a team-high seven rebounds and tallied four steals. Liz Vaughn finished with 10 points. Kelsey Hendricks led Ottawa with three assists and also had three steals.
Ottawa (1-8, 1-5) plays at 3 p.m. Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., against Avila.