KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – No. 18 Eastern Oregon (9-5, 3-1 CCC) suffered yet another Cascade Conference loss to Oregon Tech (10-4, 4-0 CCC) 63-60 on Saturday night at Danny Miles Court. The only CCC team currently in the national rankings, Eastern has won 52 of its last 54 conference games since the 2016-17 season, with the Lady Owls dealing them their only losses.
The win marks the ninth in a row for the Owls as well as the third in a row in which the team has come back from a first half deficit to win the game. It also puts the team on top of the Cascade Conference rankings, passing the only other undefeated team – Northwest Christian College – who have only played three conference games as of yet.
“What a great weekend for the Lady Owls!” said OIT Head Coach Scott Meredith. “That was an outstanding, well-coached Eastern team we faced and I’m just so happy for my players to come out on top of such a close game. We seem to get stronger as the game wears on and the 12-3 run to finish the game was the best basketball we have played all year. A big thanks to our fans for the support! Happy holidays to all!”
The Mountaineers rushed out of the gate with a show of strength, going 19-5 as the Lady Owls struggled to keep up, with the quarter ending 19-13 in favor of Eastern Oregon. However, the Owls had begun their comeback already, with a 6-0 run at the end of the first growing to a 17-5 run into the second.
Sophomore Courtney Clemmer tied up the game partway into the stanza on an assist from freshman Eastyn Reeves after a Reeves three-pointer brought the tie within reach. The nationally ranked Mountaineers shot back an 8-2 run, entering the locker room with a four-point advantage, 34-30.
The second half was a tense affair as the underdogs battled for dominance. Tech’s defense picked up in the third, holding Eastern Oregon to only a single basket over a four-minute period as they went 9-for-2 themselves, but the Mountaineers recovered and took a six-point advantage to the break.
But by the fourth, the Lady Owls were on top of their game, shooting at 61.5% and forcing five turnovers as they forced their way to a 3-point lead with only 13 seconds left on the clock. A potentially game-tying long range shot from Megan Still fell just short and it was the Owls celebrating when the final buzzer rang out.
Freshman Maddyson Tull led the Hooters with 12 points, making 5-of-5 to shoot with 100% accuracy on the night. Junior Amanda Constant and sophomore Kristin Farrell each scored 10, with Farrell making two of Tech’s three long range baskets. Sophomore Melissa Lee scored eight – including six in the fourth quarter run alone – and made eight rebounds and four blocks.
Beverly Slater led the Mountaineers with a double-double effort, scoring a game leading 18 points and 12 boards. Still followed with 10 points, and Taylor Stricklin and Rachel Fielder each added nine points. Stricklin made 3-of-5 from behind the arc and Fielder notched seven rebounds.
Eastern outrebounded the Owls 41-32, with 25 defensive rebounds giving them 15 second chance points. The team also dominated from long range, with eight makes and a 35% average.
Tech made up for their shortcomings by forcing 17 turnovers, earning a 21-12 advantage for their efforts. A 34-26 edge in the paint also upped the ante and the team took in a commanding 32-15 bench scoring lead.
The Lady Owls will be back in action on January 3rd after a break for Christmas, travelling to Portland to take on Multnomah University and staying to challenge Warner Pacific on the 4th. For local fans, the team will not play at home until the weekend of the 17th and 18th when they take on Northwest Christian University, who is currently second in the CCC, and Corban University.