The Lady Braves’ season closes out tentatively 3 p.m. today at Saint Mary (7-20, 5-18 KCAC) in Leavenworth.
While the Ottawa University women’s basketball squad’s 9-18 record (9-14 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) will not get them into the postseason, the season-long contribution from OU’s underclassmen makes for a bright-looking program future. On a team devoid of senior leadership, Ottawa’s younger players — namely its top two scorers in freshman post players Jordann Nachbar (10.4 ppg) and Mariah Grizzle (9.7 ppg) — stepped up.
“Of course Jordann and Mariah, our two freshmen leaders from an on-court standpoint, have done nothing but mature,” Bruce Tate, OU head women’s basketball coach, said. “They are getting challenged every day and that is something different for them...Those two kids, I just can’t say enough about them. From my standpoint, the future is really bright with them. Hopefully, they stay confident and don’t let losing these close games really tear at them. That is what I have to do is make sure they keep their chin up.”
Ottawa fell Wednesday in its final home game of the season — a 60-56 loss against Oklahoma Wesleyan. The Lady Braves rallied from as many as 10 down (47-37) in the final quarter. Nachbar sunk a three with 4:40 left to tie the game 49-49. A free throw by Grizzle with 1:02 left made it 53-52 OKWU, but 20 seconds later Coley Ickes hit a three-pointer for the Lady Eagles. OU’s Kelsey Hendricks put up a three with 20 seconds left that just missed and OKWU hit 4-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
It was Nachbar and Grizzle both leading Ottawa with a double-double each. Nachbar led all scorers with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Grizzle scored 12 points and demolished the glass with 16 total boards, 10 of them on the defensive end.
Oklahoma Wesleyan was led by Hannah Nealis who scored 12 points.
OKWU (60) - Nealis 12, Goodwin 11, Ickes 9, Hart 8, Melton 6, Watkins 5, Cook 5, Metker 2, Richter 2.
Ottawa (56) - Nachbar 19, Grizzle 12, Hughes 7, Vaughn 6, Rose 5, Hendricks 3, Kramer 2, McAvoy 2.