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story.lead_photo.caption Photo courtesy of Mid-America Christian John Brown senior Rosa Orpo takes a shot over Mid-America Christian's Alexis Shannon during Thursday's game in Oklahoma City. Mid-America Christian defeated the Golden Eagles 95-81.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The John Brown University women's basketball team battled back to a six-point margin in the second half. But JBU couldn't complete a comeback as Mid-America Christian (Okla.) won a pivotal matchup, 95-81, on Thursday evening inside the Gaulke Activity Center.

The Evangels (16-7, 10-5 Sooner Athletic Conference) pulled away for a solid position in fourth place in the SAC table, mostly on the heels of a 29-9 second quarter, winning their seventh game in the last eight. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles fell for the third time in their last four, now in jeopardy of missing out on home-court advantage in the SAC tournament quarterfinals.

Fueled by 20 John Brown turnovers, the hosts outscored the Golden Eagles 28-12 in points off turnovers, nine of which miscues happened in the forgettable second period. In fact, the Evangels had a 16-0 lead at the intermission in points off turnovers.

"Offensively, besides the second quarter, we did exactly what I wanted us to do," head coach Jeff Soderquist admitted. "Good to see people off the bench contributing in big ways, but the second quarter just killed us. We were standing on offense (in the second quarter), whereas in the first, we were attacking the paint, and a bunch of our (3-pointers) came off attacking the paint and kicking out the ball. We missed people that were open and turnovers led to easy buckets for them."

In the first quarter, JBU hit seven triples, including three from freshman Taylor Fergen, and returned to hitting buckets behind the arc, adding six more in the third to trim the lead to 71-62. Sophomore Jordan Martin added two treys to fuel the John Brown comeback bid.

Senior Rosa Orpo's layup followed by a Baily Cameron triple continued the JBU resurgence, and Orpo later matched a MACU triple at the top of the arc with 7:03 remaining, but the Evangels responded with a prompt 7-2 run over the next 2:00 to return the lead to double digits, 85-74.

The visitors couldn't recover as MACU won for the sixth time in the last eight meetings with John Brown. The Evangels have now swept the season series three of the past four seasons.

Cameron led a quintet of players in double figures, scoring a team-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, and added eight rebounds. Orpo hit three triples and finished with 13 points while reserves Fergen, Martin and sophomore Ally Teague contributed 12, 10 and 10 points, respectively. Martin's seven helpers stood as a career-best for the sophomore guard.

Alexa Shannon netted a game-best 31 points and added six rebounds and five assists while Jessica Fairley contributed 18 points and Chelseah Savage 15, and six rebounds. Nevada Denton registered 13 points in the win.

MACU hit 54.4 percent from the field (37-of-68) but more impressively converted 11-of-24 from behind the arc. John Brown, conversely, hit 18-of-41 from long range, and hit 50 percent overall (30-of-60). The 20 turnovers hampered the visitors as Mid-America Christian committed only 10.

The Golden Eagles returned home on Saturday to face Science and Arts. Results were not available at presstime. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to host Southwestern Assemblies of God (Texas) on Thursday.

Sports on 02/11/2018

Print Headline: Tough second quarter dooms JBU women

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