OU women needed 'toughness' around the rim

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Ottawa University’s Liz Vaughn (3) and Aleesha Cooks trap and force a turnover late in the game against Tabor.

The Ottawa University and Tabor College women’s basketball games traditionally have not been pretty good games.

The games are usually played with high intensity on defense. The two waged another defensive battle Thursday night in Wilson Field House.

Ottawa came on the short end, falling 67-60. The Braves did not take advantage of its scoring opportunities.

“There were moments where we needed to be tougher and finish at the rim,” Ottawa coach Tarniesha Scott said. “Games like this in a defensive battle, you have to make those easy ones. When you get layups and shots in the paint, you have to knock those down. They converted on layups. You have to finish through contact. We have to work on that.”

Ottawa’s best stretch offensively came at the end of the first and fourth quarters. Ottawa ended the first quarter with a 12-4 spurt to take an 18-15 lead.

Ottawa ended the game on an 8-0 run to slice a 15-point deficit down to seven.

“It was hard to get some of our key players involved,” Scott said. "In games like that, you have to do so much right. We did not score enough. They were tough and contested shots. We did compete well.”

Tabor ended the first half on an 11-5 run to take a 34-29 halftime lead. Tabor used a 11-3 spurt to open a 55-44 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Scott said the Tabor posts made Ottawa work on both ends of the floor.

“Our posts have to do a better job in establishing position early,” she said. “We gave up some easy position to their post players. We have to be better disciplined.”

The Ottawa press spurred the run in the final two minutes of the game.

"We have to figure out the moments when we are going to play it,” Scott said. “Maybe we should have pressed sooner.”

Haylie Anderson led Ottawa with 19 points and seven rebounds. Kanecia Payne finished with 16 points.

Ottawa’s game Saturday against Bethany was postponed.

Ottawa (3-6, 3-4) plays Jan. 5 on the road against Bethel College.

Scott said the break is needed to recharge the batteries.

“We have battled so much,” she said. “They need a mental break.”