The second-round game of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament brought John Brown University’s women’s basketball team’s season to an end.
The Golden Eagles competed in the tournament from March 3-4 in Waxahachie, Texas. Though the team achieved a victory in the first round, the second round brought a season-ending loss to the SAC conference leaders.
The fourth-seeded Golden Eagles began the tournament by squaring off against the fifth-seeded Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions. The Golden Eagles were going for a season sweep of SAGU, for they had already beaten the Lions twice during the regular season.
“We knew that we could win,” Brooke Barker, forward, said. “The two times we played them earlier during conference, we won both games by close margins. But we had no doubts that if we played well and executed our game plan, we would advance to the next round.”
The Golden Eagles were victorious as they were in the teams’ previous two competitions. They trailed the Lions by four points at halftime but then pulled ahead to take a four-point lead by the end of the third quarter. The the Lions pulled themselves within one score with just over five minutes in regulation, but the Golden Eagles responded with two quick baskets to rebuild their lead.
The Golden Eagles ended the game victoriously by a score of 51-41.
“We hit timely shots when we needed to,” Jeff Soderquist, head coach, said. “It was just a good win. I felt that we did what we needed to do offensively.”
The Golden Eagles then went on to play the top-seeded Wayland Baptist University Flying Queens in the next round. The team was initially successful in the matchup—at halftime, the Golden Eagles were only down by three points.
“We were very confident at half time,” Kodee Powell, point guard, said. “It just got away from us in the second half.”
In the second half, the Golden Eagles managed to fall victim to missing good opportunities and making poor decisions.
“The third quarter was a combination of missed easy shots and taking bad shots that led to transition baskets for them,” Soderquist said. “We were down by 11 at the end of the third and we were kind of gambling in the fourth.”
The 85-65 loss to Wayland Baptist ended the Golden Eagles’ season and eliminated them from the tournament. Barker mentioned that in spite of their loss, she was impressed with her team’s play.
“Kimmy [Deines] did really well, as she was driving in and creating shots for both herself and other people. Mariah [Knox] came in off the bench and hit some shots early on. Kodee [Powell] handled the ball pressure really well and Jana [Schammel] hit some shots in the end as we tried to make a comeback,” Barker said of her teammates. “It was a great team effort.”
Now that the season is over, the team is eager to improve their play for the 2016-2017 season.
“This team was something special,” Powell said. “We are already ready to start training and getting better for next season.”
Soderquist mentioned that he is proud of his team—not only for their play but also for them as people.
“It was a really fun group to be around,” Soderquist said. “I’m really proud of them. A winning season and a winning conference season is always great to have.”