Siloam Springs Herald Leader

Smith’s nine treys lead JBU women past SAGU


WAXAHACHIE, Texas — Junior Natalie Smith scored a career-high 31 points and added five rebounds and five assists in a John Brown University women’s basketball team win over Southweste­rn Assemblies of God (Texas), 74-65, on Monday night (Feb. 6) inside the Sheaffer Center.

Smith poured in 9 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc, which spearheade­d a John Brown triple barrage that concluded in the Golden Eagles’ fifth consecutiv­e win and a season sweep of the Lions.

Smith’s nine triples tied a 30-year-old program record in the process. Kelli Cantrell hit nine treys versus College of the Ozarks back in 1992, three years after Jeanna Houck’s nine-triple effort against Central Methodist (Mo.). Individual­ly, the outburst was the program’s largest single-game three-point total since Luize Skrastina’s seven versus Central Christian (Kan.) in 2017.

Smith’s 20 second-half points counted for nearly half of JBU’s total offensive output in the final 20 minutes, fueling a 42-27 scoring advantage that overcame a six-point deficit, 38-32, at halftime.

Smith, who drained eight of her final nine field goal attempts, was joined by seniors Tarrah Stephens and Lisa Vanoverber­ghe, who each contribute­d 14 points, while sophomore Emily Sanders collected 10 of JBU’s 39 rebounds.

The long range dominance exerted by the Golden Eagles (17-6, 11-6 Sooner Athletic Conference) wasn’t matched by SAGU, which struggled from behind the arc by shooting just 26 percent (9 of 35). The Lions fared just moderately better inside the arc, scoring at a 38 percent clip (26-of-69) compared to JBU’s 40 percent overall effort from the field (25-of-62).

SAGU (7-17, 4-14) was led by Autumn Moore’s 15 points and seven rebounds. Three other Lions scored in double figures, but the rest of the squad shot just 4 of 18 on the night.

A slow offensive start for the Golden Eagles didn’t last too long, but John Brown worked hard to tie the game five times in the first quarter. Triples from Smith and graduate student Maci Mains aided JBU in holding a onepoint lead after the opening quarter, 18-17.

A large John Brown shooting rut allowed SAGU to pull ahead, courtesy of a 21-10 run over an 8:45 span that saw the visitors score just one field goal, a Smith triple, during a 1 of 11 drought from the field. Vanoverber­ghe provided a timely trey to pull JBU within two, 33-31, but the Lions ended the second quarter with consecutiv­e buckets to build a six-point lead at the break.

From that point forward, it was largely the Natalie Smith show as she converted on 4 of 5 from three in the third quarter alone, resulting in a lopsided 23-10 advantage in the third frame. The visitors ended the third on a 13-2 run that saw the SAGU offense stumbled into a 1 of 7 shooting blight as Smith scored 11 consecutiv­e for the visitors.

Junior Elise Cone’s triple from the deep left corner continued JBU’s seven-point lead, 60-53, which later expanded quickly to 12 with just over three minutes remaining. Three consecutiv­e buckets from sophomore Graci Harris, Vanoverber­ghe and a Smith triple provided the visitors a quick 7-0 spurt that largely put the game out of reach at 73-61.

The Golden Eagles return home on Thursday (Feb. 9) for a 6 p.m. matchup with Oklahoma Panhandle State, which kicks off a four-game homestand. The game will air live on the SAC Sports Network.


DALLAS — Senior Tarrah Stephens led a crew of three Golden Eagles that finished in double-figure scoring and the John Brown University women’s basketball team used a 15-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to take a 71-52 win over North Texas at Dallas on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 4) inside Trinity Basin Preparator­y.

Stephens, the two-time defending Sooner Athletic Player of the Week, scored a game-high 28 points on 11 of 18 shooting, while sophomore Emily Sanders added 11 points and senior Lisa Vanoverber­ghe led the team with three triples to finish with 10 points.

Stephens completed her fourth double-double of the season by grabbing 12 rebounds. Vanoverber­ghe also added 10 rebounds to complete a double-double as the Golden Eagles heavily outrebound­ed the Trailblaze­rs, 47-24.

After allowing 22 offensive rebounds in the first meeting of the season at Bill George Arena, the John Brown defense limited UNTD (10-9, 8-9) to just eight, and a grand total of five second-chance points.

After four ties and three lead changes in the first half, JBU carried a 28-19 lead into the intermissi­on. The hosts rallied in the third quarter, using a 10-2 run to pull within one, 37-36. John Brown responded by closing out the third quarter with three triples – two from junior Bella Irlenborn and another from graduate student Maci Mains – to rebuild an eightpoint lead with 10 minutes to play.

Again, the Trailblaze­rs pieced together an offensive spurt, closing to within four, 48-44, in the first 90 seconds of the fourth. Then, a UNTD bench technical followed a shooting foul, allowing Stephens and Sanders to convert the four attempts, and with possession following the technical, graduate student Maddie Altman dropped in a layup and the Golden Eagles were off on a 15-0 run that opened up a 63-44 advantage with just under four minutes left in the game.

Stephens scored eight of her 28 points during the run that spanned 3:19 and saw JBU hit 5 of 7 chances from the field.

The Golden Eagles converted on its final three field goals, fending off UNTD and grabbing a split on the season series.

JBU shot 43 percent from the floor (25-of-58) and hit 10 triples. A rough second quarter for UNTD limited the hosts to a 34.5 percent efficiency (20-of-58) as the Trailblaze­rs hit just 4 of 16 attempts from behind the arc.

Zyunn Cormier was the lone Trailblaze­r to finish the game in double-digit scoring with 15 points.

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