Blossoms run into GAC buzzsaw

After dropping their last two road games, the University of Arkansas at Monticello Cotton Blossoms returned home to face the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Lady Rangers last Thursday.
The Lady Rangers got on the board first after an early foul by UAM put Presley Payahsape on the line to shoot a pair of free throws. Connecting on both with 8 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter, she gave Northwestern a 2-0 lead.
UAM took the lead with 6:26 remaining in the quarter with a three-pointer by Jaida Harden. It was the first basket by either team in more than two minutes of play. The teams traded the lead for the remainder of the quarter with the largest lead for either team being four points. By the end of the first quarter, Northwestern finished on top with a one-point, 14-13, lead.
Northwestern scored the first points of the second quarter to extend the lead to five points, 18-13, with 8:36 remaining in the half. UAM pulled within three points, 18-15 with 8:14 showing on the clock. Ten seconds later, UAM tied the contest at 18 after a Whitney O’Dell three-pointer.
The Blossoms continued to lead for the remainder of the half, with the biggest lead coming with 58 seconds left at 10 points. UAM finished the half with a 31-25 lead.
UAM maintained the lead until a free throw by Northwestern’s Bailey Brown tied the game at 36 with 3:18 remaining in the third period. Northwestern would lead for the remainder of the quarter, taking a 40-38 lead into the final quarter of play.
Northwestern continued to lead throughout the fourth quarter, extending the lead to the final score of 53-42.
For UAM, Harden led the way with nine points followed by MacKenzie Johnson and Berniezha Tidwell with eight points each. O’Dell scored six points, Dezirae King five, Chari Swift four and Nina Kizzee two.
It did not get easier for the Blossoms Saturday, as the
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Lady Bulldogs visited Steelman Field House. Leading the Great American Conference standings with a 13-0 record (18-1 overall), the Lady Bulldogs could not put the Blossoms away in the first half as UAM kept the game close throughout the half.
Despite never taking the lead, UAM tied the game midway through the second quarter at 28, but Southwestern rallied to a 17-0 run before closing the half with a 52-33 lead.
Southwestern continued to build on their lead in the second half taking a 22-point victory and reaching the century mark on the scoreboard with a 100-78 win.
Leading the way for the Blossoms was Johnson with 29 points followed by Tidwell with 17. O’Dell added nine, King eight and Swift five. Kizzee scored four, and Taylor Farley and Pamela Bethel two apiece. Rounding out the scoring was Briana Hayles and Harden with one point each.
With the win Southwestern improves to 19-1 overall and 14-0 in GAC play. UAM falls to 5-14 overall, 4-10 in the league.
The Blossoms will return to action Thursday looking to halt a four-game skid when they take on Harding University at 5:30 p.m. The Blossoms will host Henderson State University at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Both games will be played at Steelman Field House.

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