St. Mary’s Tops Lady Aggies in Tournament
- By Scott Puryear of OPSU Sports on 03/07/08
Goodwell, Okla. -- The Lady Aggie basketball team of Oklahoma Panhandle State University was in Denton, Texas on Friday to tangle with the 24th ranked team in the country (in NCAA Division II) – St. Mary’s University. It was the opening round of the Heartland Conference tournament and St. Mary’s came away with a 79-59 win.
OPSU entered the contest with a 15-12 season record (8-6 in the conference), while the Rattlers of St. Mary’s went in with a perfect league record of 14-0, a 23-4 overall record, and 22 straight victories. The Lady Aggies were the fourth seed in the tournament and the Rattlers were the top seed.
“The Super Pit” at North Texas University was the site for the tournament.
The Lady Aggies were pumped up for the game and the action was intense from the opening tip. With just under 15 minutes left in the half, OPSU’s Sarah Polson nailed a three-point rocket to put her team ahead 10-9.
The talented Rattlers put on a very strong push as the time wound down in the first half, and the teams went to the intermission with St. Mary’s leading 39-22.
In the second half, the Lady Aggies refused to give up, but the Rattlers showed why they are a nationally ranked team and they led 60-40 with just over ten minutes left in the game.
However, heart and determination is what gave OPSU 15 wins on the season going in to the game and they roared back into contention, cutting the lead to 66-57 with 3:52 to play. From there, the Lady Aggies were forced to foul and St. Mary’s responded from the charity stripe and came up with the 79-59 win.
It did not help OPSU that their leading scorer and the league’s leading rebounder, Jasmine Williams, played only 17 minutes due to foul trouble.
Post game, Lady Aggie head coach Brad Vanden Boogaard was upbeat and very proud of his team. He noted that OPSU worked very hard to overcome a 22-point deficit and get it down to nine against a very good team. He also gave special praise to several of his seniors including Alisha Sladek, Megan Hamilton, Sarah Polson, Jeanna Cramer, Connie Maas, and Milica Rogic.
Hamilton led all scorers in the game with 21 points and Williams scored 13 to go with seven rebounds. Polson scored eight and pulled down four rebounds while Sladek scored six and had three boards. Ceara Brown had four points to go with four rebounds and Maas snared six rebounds to go with two points and four steals.
Earning a 15-13 season record (as well as advancing to the conference tournament) is something Vanden Boogaard, his team, and his assistants (Stacy Nordquist and Rhyan Daugherty) can be very proud of.
In just his first year running the Lady Aggie program, Vanden Boogaard also said he looks forward to many more nights in the OPSU gym to continue to make the fans proud.