Braves women pick up key win over Southwestern

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Ottawa University junior Liz Vaughn spearheaded the offense with 14 points and four assists in the win over Southwestern.

The Ottawa University women’s basketball team secured the win it needed to finish in the top seven of the conference.

Ottawa went on the road Thursday to knock off Southwestern, 65-53. The victory moves Ottawa’s KCAC record to 11-12 and are three games ahead in the win column over eighth-place Oklahoma Wesleyan with one game remaining.

It was the middle game of a three game stretch in four days to close the regular season. Ottawa lost to nationally-ranked Sterling Wednesday and plays 4 p.m. Saturday at McPherson, which needs a win to secure a top four spot in the conference.

“We have a quick turnaround,” Ottawa coach Tarniesha Scott said. “It is tough. We have to figure out a way to get it done.”

Ottawa is attempting to build momentum to next week’s KCAC tourney. The Braves (11-14) have been inconsistent this season under its first-year coach.

“For us, it is about finding some level of consistency,” Scott said. “It is difficult when you are not consistent in anything right now. We have to battle tough moments.”

Ottawa is still trying to establish chemistry on the court with all the new players and coaches.

“We have to find who we are going to be,” Scott said. “It is hard because we are right at the end of the season. We had moments throughout the year of who we are going to be. Then we took nose dive.”

Ottawa had a good January, which featured a four-game winning streak. February has been a bit rocky with the inconsistent play.

“We have to keep working,” Scott said. “They are fighting.”

Ottawa plays at a higher level when playing ahead or in a close battle.

“We don’t withstand runs and adversity very well,” Scott said. “Once we do that, we we will be a better team.”

Ottawa played with the lead against Southwestern and the results were favorable.

The Braves used a 7-0 spurt to close the first half to take a 28-23 halftime lead.

The third quarter saw Ottawa increase the lead to nine points, but Southwestern cut the deficit to two. A late run gave Ottawa a 50-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Ottawa shot 47.1% from the floor.

Ottawa junior Liz Vaughn scored a team-best 14 points and had four assists. Kanecia Payne came off the bench to score 11 points. She also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.