Siloam Springs Herald Leader

Golden Eagles take loss at home

Wayland Baptist women win 71-66


John Brown’s women had a chance to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the Sooner Athletic Conference standings on Saturday at home against Wayland Baptist, who came into the contest a half game back.

However, when the final seconds ticked off, it was the Golden Eagles who had fallen a half game behind and into fifth place as the Flying Queens never trailed in a 71-66 victory inside Bill George Arena. The loss ended JBU’s sixgame winning streak.

A hot-shooting Wayland Baptist (17-9, 13-7) led 29-15 after the first quarter and 48-29 at halftime before leading by 23 in the third quarter. John Brown closed the third quarter on an 18-1 run to pull within six going into the fourth quarter.

But Wayland Baptist got the lead back up to double-digits in the fourth and held on late for the SAC victory.

“The second half we just kind of held on,” said Wayland Baptist coach Jason Cooper. “We knew coming in John Brown is just so well coached and they just execute so well. We don’t want to play them again. We’d rather have a chance to play them at home I guess (in the conference tournament). They’re so good. It was a big game for both teams. I think there’s some really good teams in our conference. I think us and John Brown can beat anybody that’s above us. I think it’s going to be a heck of a conference tournament.”

Wayland Baptist hit 20 of 41 shots from the field in the first half and outrebound­ed JBU 26-11, including 10 offensive rebounds which led to 12 second chance points.

“That first half, we just got it taken to us,” said John Brown coach Jeff Soderquist. “We were getting pushed around, and we were more worried about the refs or somebody bailing us out instead of standing up to the pressure. We just got pushed around. If we were going to make any type of comeback I just told them (at halftime), we’re giving up almost 50 points a game and they almost had that at halftime.”

John Brown (18-7, 12-7) did tighten up defensivel­y in the second half, but not until after the Flying Queens went up 57-34 with 6 minutes, 3 seconds left in the third after a 3-pointer from Ashlyn Shelley.

Tarrah Stephens scored two quick buckets to begin JBU’s comeback attempt. Natalie Smith and Maddie Altman hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Then a free throw from Stephens and another 3-pointer from Emily Sanders cut the Flying Queens’ lead to 58-48.

JBU trailed 58-52 after Bella Irlenborn hit a pair at the line and Altman had a driving basket at the end of the quarter.

Wayland Baptist scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to go back up 11 points.

Then with 6:26 left in the fourth, the game was delayed when the shot clock on the Wayland Baptist goal malfunctio­ned and the rest of the game was played with the shot clock being kept at the scorer’s table.

The delay threw off John Brown’s offensive rebound as the Golden Eagles didn’t score again for more than five minutes. Wayland Baptist was thrown off a bit too, but it still led by nine after Jenna Cooper-Jackson knocked down four straight free throws for a 71-62 lead.

Smith and Stephens scored late baskets for JBU to set the final score.

Kaitlyn Edgemon scored 22 of her team-high 24 points in the first half to lead the Flying Queens, while Cooper-Jackson had 16 and Taylor Houston added 10.

“We just battled,” Jason Cooper said. “We showed some maturity. We’re figuring things out. We’ve won seven of our last nine. We’re rolling pretty good. They were hot and it was a very important game, and it’s hard to win on the road. It’s really hard to win on the road. I’m proud of our girls, and like I said, I don’t want to play them again. I don’t know how I make that not happen, but I’m going to try.”

Natalie Smith led John Brown with 17 points, while Stephens had 16, Sanders 13 and Altman 10.

John Brown was scheduled to host Oklahoma City on Tuesday at Bill George Arena. Results were not available at presstime.

The Golden Eagles host Mid-America Christian on Thursday for Senior Night, followed by a trip to Southweste­rn Christian on Saturday for the final game of the regular season. The team is still chasing that fourth spot in the league, which would mean JBU would get to host an opening round game of the SAC Conference Tournament.

“We’ve just got to win basketball games,” Soderquist said. “There’s nothing that’s going to be entitled to us. We’ve just got to go out and win them. We’ve got three more games. The most important game is Tuesday. We’ve got to go out and win it. We can’t worry about what other teams do and hope. Where we’re at now if we can just go out and win three straight I think we can get that fourth spot.”

John Brown 63, Oklahoma Panhandle State 44

The John Brown University women’s basketball team used an 11-3 run late in the second quarter and then limited the visiting Aggies to just five field goals in the second half, allowing the Golden Eagles to run past Oklahoma Panhandle State, 63-44, on Thursday evening (Feb. 9) inside Bill George Arena.

Senior Tarrah Stephens turned in a gamehigh 15 points with eight rebounds and two assists. Natalie Smith added 14 points on a 6 of 11 shooting effort. Irlenborn came off the bench and scored all 11 points of her points in the second half.

Jamiya Eaddy was the lone Aggie to finish in double figures by scoring 12 points.

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