Lady Aggies Claim Tournament Title
by Scott Puryear of Aggie Sports on 11/19/05
Goodwell, OK – Gunnison, Colorado is the site of the
annual Comfort Inn Classic women’s basketball tournament
and the Lady Aggies of Oklahoma Panhandle State University
were there with no intention of making things comfortable for
opposing teams. They topped Chadron State 65-54 in the tourney’s
first round, and came back the next night with a 71-66 win
over Western State to claim the tournament title.
Lady Aggies 65, Chadron State 54
Oklahoma Panhandle State evened their season record at 1-1
with a solid 65-54 win against Chadron State in the first
round of the Comfort Inn Classic on Friday night.
In the opening half, OPSU played well at both ends of the
court and held a 30-20 lead. They jumped out fast in the second
half and increased the margin to as much as fourteen points.
Chadron State made a determined run and got to within a single
point as the clock moved forward, but thanks to their teamwork
and conditioning, the Lady Aggies decided that enough was enough
and pulled away for the eleven point victory.
Nina Kuleff led both teams with 20 points and 11 boards, and
Brandi Lewis had 19 points and seven rebounds. Taneisha Rogers
popped in 14 points and added six rebounds.
After the win, OPSU coach Jerry Olson
was making sure his team was focusing on the tournament’s final game on Saturday
against host school Western State, but the veteran coach noted
that he was pleased with the work and effort the Lady Aggies
displayed in the victory. Fans were ready for a wild one in
the tournament’s final game, and that would be exactly
what it would turn out to be.
Lady Aggies 71, Western State 66
In the Comfort Inn championship game on Saturday night, 48%
field goal shooting and strong defense put the Lady Aggies
in front of Western State, 32-22 at halftime.
Western State had scored 99 points on
the night before and did not want to lose their own tournament.
They came out with purpose in the second half, cutting the
OPSU lead to two points with 18 minutes to play in the game.
However, the Lady Aggies fought back and Nina Kuleff’s
free throw put them in the lead by seven points with 11:47
left in the game.
Western State staged a strong rally and
took a one point lead (49-48) at the 10:10 mark and the stage
was set for an exciting finish - just what tournament championship
games are supposed to be about. The Lady Aggies soon tied
the game at 52 points each, then OPSU’s quick Taneisha
Rogers came up with a nifty steal, followed by a fast break
lay up to give her team a 54-52 lead with just over eight
minutes to play.
It was great college basketball and with
5:31 to play – TIE
GAME at 55-55!
Western State caught a couple of good breaks and went ahead
63-57, but there was no quit in the Lady Aggies, and they regrouped
under Coach Olson and soon a three-point bomb by Rogers tied
the game at 63-63 with just over two minutes to play.
Not to be denied victory, OPSU’s
Brandi Lewis soon nailed another three point rocket and the
Lady Aggies finished the game with a 71-66 win and the tournament
Lewis led all scorers with 21 points and Rogers popped in
17. Nina Kuleff was the leading rebounder for the Lady Aggies
with ten to go along with her 13 points. Diana Garduno scored
nine and freshman Sarah Furgeson scored five and pulled down
Olson was glowing after the game, but
gave Western State plenty of credit, saying that both teams
worked hard for the win. The turning point in the contest
may well have been when the 6’0 Kuleff went to the
bench with foul trouble in the second half. Western State
was unable to gain from the situation because the crafty
Olson went to a four guard offense and the conditioning of
his team again spelled the difference.
It was a great win for the Lady Aggies (2-1) whose only loss
has come at the hands of the Air Force Academy.