Lady Aggies Fall in Title Game, 69-64
by Aggie Sports on 03/04/06
Goodwell, Okla. - The Lady Aggies of Oklahoma Panhandle
State and the Lady Rattlers of St. Mary’s University
waged war in the Heartland Conference women’s basketball
title game on Saturday night. The contest was played on St.
Mary’s home court in San Antonio, Texas and the opening
tip was at 7:30 p.m.
Not quite two hours later, St. Mary’s
owned a hard earned 69-64 victory and the league tournament
The Lady Aggies started off with some
very strong defense and on the first St. Mary’s possession,
freshman guard Sarah Furgeson came up with a steal and took
the ball back down court for an unassisted two points to
give OPSU a 2-0 lead.
Both teams wanted victory and in the
first few minutes, the lead changed hands several times,
with St. Mary’s ahead
14-13 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
It was a game of changing momentum for
a good part of the first period. St. Mary’s had it for a short time, but
OPSU’s Michelle Kennedy cut the Lady Rattler lead to
19-16 with a three point play with nine minutes left. Two minutes
later, the score was tied at 21 points each.
The OPSU defense was tenacious and they
challenged every move St. Mary’s made, with both teams working relentlessly
for the advantage. A three point rocket by OPSU’s Brandi
Lewis put the Lady Aggies ahead 29-25 with 1:45 to play, but
St. Mary’s fought back to take a 31-29 lead at the halftime
break. It was exactly the way conference championship games
should be played.
Both teams came out for the second half well aware each had
their season on the line . . . the losing team finished for
the year. The winner would advance to the NCAA Division II
The second half began with St. Mary’s superior height
versus OPSU’s superior speed. The Lady Rattlers went
with three inside players standing six feet tall or more while
the Lady Aggies defended with a stubborn press. The action
was fast, furious, and physical and with 12 minutes to play
OPSU trailed 49-43.
With eight minutes remaining, St. Mary’s
held a 54-48 advantage, but there was not one bit of quit
in the Lady Aggies.
Just above the five minute mark, St. Mary’s was up 59-52
and the action stayed fast paced and physical, with the Lady
Aggies pushing hard with a full court press. St. Mary’s
tried to pull away but could not shake a game OPSU squad and
held a 67-59 lead with two minutes to play.
Fighting all the way to the final buzzer, OPSU ended their
fine season with the emotional 69-64 loss. As they left the
court, the Lady Aggies did not need to hang their heads. They
played with determination and heart from start to finish.
Taneisha Rogers, a junior guard, and Furgeson led the OPSU
scoring with 14 points each. Rogers had six rebounds and Furgeson
handed out five assists. In her final game as a Lady Aggie,
senior forward Bridgett Boykin scored a dozen and had a game
high three steals. Laura Wilson scored eight points and Lewis
The Lady Aggies’ Nina Kuleff delivered
a courageous performance. As the only six- footer in the
Lady Aggie lineup, the junior center stood her ground all
night. In the second half of the very physical game, Kuleff
crashed to the floor but was back in the game a short time
later with the same dedication she has shown all season.
For the game, the junior scored four points and handed out
As always, win or lose, OPSU coach Jerry
Olson graciously spoke to the media after the hotly contested
game. He said, “St.
Mary’s made the plays when they had to and they played
excellent defense. Our overall effort was there but we just
did not execute well enough.”
OPSU finished the season with a 15-14
record, while St. Mary’s
went to 18-11.
Olson was very proud of his team and
did not have to say “Wait
until next year.” OPSU basketball fans have enjoyed this
season and are confident the Lady Aggies will make another
run at the Heartland Conference title in the 2007. For now,
they can sit back and reflect on the many thrills from the
great team effort this season.