Siloam Springs Herald Leader

Golden Eagles win at Langston, move into fourth place


LANGSTON, Okla. — The John Brown University women’s basketball team stretched its winning streak to three behind a 34-point performanc­e from senior Tarrah Stephens and a timely gameclosin­g rally in a 74-67 win over Langston (Okla.) on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 28) inside the C.F. Gayles Fieldhouse.

Stephens turned in a seasonhigh 34 points on 13 of 19 shooting and a 6 for 9 effort at the line, while adding seven rebounds. Junior Natalie Smith scored all five of her triples in the second half to finish with 16 points and, after Stephens exited the game briefly due to an injury, junior Bella Irlenborn came off the bench to score 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including a 4 for 5 mark at the line. Irlenborn capped off an incredible passing play with 16 seconds left with an old-fashioned three-pointer that iced the win.

The Golden Eagles (15-6, 9-6 Sooner Athletic), who moved into fourth place in the conference, held the Lions to just four second-chance points and made the most of their eight offensive boards, producing 14 points off the extra possession­s. The Lions (12-10, 7-9) turned 15 John Brown miscues into 15 points.

The visitors shot 52 percent from the field, its second-highest efficiency in a single game this season, pouring in 27-of-52 overall and connecting on nine of the 22 triples attempted. JBU is 10-1 this season when shooting over 44 percent.

Smith hit a deep triple from the left elbow of the arc, breaking the eighth tie, 62-62, of the afternoon, and sophomore Emily Sanders picked a perfect time for her only bucket of the afternoon on the next possession. Sanders drilled a beautiful trey from the right elbow, and after a defensive stop, Stephens drove baseline and finished off a reverse layup, handing the visitors a 70-64 lead.

Langston split at the line the next trip and then, with the shot clock expiring, Irlenborn’s acrobatic layup at the left block finished off any Lions comeback hopes, especially by completing the three-point possession at the line after the foul. John Brown finished the final 2:56 of the game on a 12-5 run — hitting 4 for 5 from the field and hitting both triples and both free throws attempted.

The grudge match featured four lead changes — one in each quarter — and six ties in the second half. In a complete reversal from the first matchup of the season, this time it was the Golden Eagles controllin­g the boards, 38-29, with four players pulling down at least five rebounds.

Hailey Jordan scored 17 for Langston but was held under 50 percent from the floor. Aniya Pride and Ayasha Thomas contribute­d 12 and 10 points, respective­ly, in the loss for the Lions, which shot just shy of 40 percent from the field (25-of-63).

It was announced earlier in the week that John Brown’s home loss against Langston has been declared a Langston forfeit due to an ineligible player.


Four players scored in double figures as the Golden Eagles built a quick 12-0 lead and never looked back in an 83-43 win over Central Christian (Kan.) on Thursday night (Jan. 26) inside Bill George Arena, starting a twogame win streak.

Junior Natalie Smith hit a pair of early triples and four different players scored in a gameopenin­g run that produced a 23-7 lead at the end of the first period. Another lopsided score in the third quarter, 20-6, led to a late 42-point lead as the Golden Eagles improved to 6-3 in Siloam Springs.

The shorthande­d Tigers (0-19, 0-15) struggled to score all night long, shooting 25 percent from the field and just slightly better from behind the arc but Abigail Contreras came off the bench to connect on four triples to lead the visitors with 14 points.

John Brown, meanwhile, enjoyed 19 points and nine boards from senior Tarrah Stephens – who officially took over the average scoring lead in the Sooner Athletic with the output – but also enjoyed a career-high 18 points from junior Leah Anderson off the bench, all in the second half. The impressive performanc­e from Anderson saw her shoot 9 of 11 from the floor and grab five rebounds. Junior Bella Irlenborn also came off the bench to provide 13 points, while Smith finished with 11, mostly on three triples.

Junior Elise Cone also came off the bench in the fourth quarter and hit all three triples attempted to finish with nine points.

The Golden Eagles shot 51 percent (36-of-71) from the field — its secondhigh­est efficiency of the season — and turned 16 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points.


John Brown’s home game against Oklahoma

City on Tuesday was postponed for the second straight week and reschedule­d for Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The Golden Eagles are back on the road to Texas Thursday at Southweste­rn Assemblies of God before playing at North Texas at Dallas on Saturday.

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