Women hope to clinch tourney spot

The Lady Eagles will face Science and Arts of Oklahoma tonight before returning home on Saturday to take on Southern Nazarene (Okla.) for their final regular season game.

They need to secure their place as eighth in the Sooner Athletic Conference this weekend. If JBU falls to ninth, they will not continue to post-season play, which begins on March 1, in the Bill George Arena.

The Lady Eagles only need to win one game this weekend to keep their position, though if they win both games there is a possibility that they could take seventh in conference.

JBU currently has a record of 14-14, 8-12 in conference after a 56-41 loss to No.1 Oklahoma Christian on Saturday night.

Women’s head coach Jeff Soderquist said the Lady Eagles still have room to improve though he is very pleased with how they have played in the last seven games.

“We have done a good job to put ourselves where we are at and now we just have to finish the job,” said Soderquist.

The loss on Saturday night came after the Lady Eagles won on the road against Mid-America Christian with a final score of 60-41.

Last weekend’s 1-1 split allowed JBU to keep their eight seed in the SAC. If the Lady Eagles drop any farther in the conference standings, they will also not continue to the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament.

JBU’s current leading scorer is sophomore guard Sierra Shipley averaging 11.7 points per game, followed by redshirt sophomore guard Jessica Berlin with 11. Senior forward Chelsea Garrison and freshman forward Morgan Ankrom each have 4.8 rebounds per game to lead JBU in rebounds.

The Lady Eagle’s have become more consistent offensively, which has brought them five wins out of their last seven games.

Their defense, which has been fairly strong all year, will also have to play well this weekend against USAO’s and SNU’s top scorers.

USAO’s leading scorer is freshman Paige Pullman averaging 14.5 points per game, followed by freshman Liberty Payne with 10 points per game. Their leading rebounder is junior Tashina Ototivo with 7 rebounds per game, followed by Payne with 4.5.

USAO has a season record of 5-22, 2-18 in conference. They are also at the bottom of the conference standings.

SNU, who will play the Lady Eagles on Saturday, are third in the conference with a record of 21-7, 15-5 in the SAC.

Four of their conference losses were against the top two teams in the SAC. The fifth was earlier this season to JBU.

Junior Oumoul Thiam is the Storm’s leading scorer with 13.6 points per game followed by senior Logan Martin with 13. Senior Abbey Marra is their leading rebounder with 8.9 per game followed by fellow senior Sharmeda Johnson with 3.4.

Tonight’s game against USAO will begin at 6 p.m. in the Bill George Arena.