ROCHESTER, NY - Despite missing out on a chance at the NAIA tournament two weeks ago, the Lady Trailblazers still had plenty to play for as they headed to New York for a chance at playing in the NCCAA National Tournament. After receiving a first round bye in the regional tournament, OCU was scheduled to face Lancaster Bible College in the semifinal. OCU would show little trouble in the matchup, getting an easy 71-55 win, placing them in the regional championship against defending champion Roberts Wesleyan. Both teams would come out ready to play, leading to a tight battle in the first and second quarter. The Raiders made a run heading into halftime, leading to a six point deficit for the Lady Trailblazers.
As the Raiders lead blossomed in the second half, OCU stood strong, not letting their emotions get the best of them. With 6:56 remaining in the game, the Lady Trailblazers found themselves down by 17, a next to impossible deficit to erase. However, OCU made their run, cutting the lead to as low as three with 1:38 remaining. Unfortunately, the Raiders managed to hold their ground and make their free throws, leading to their 68-61 win. Senior Erinn Bailey (SR/Dayton, OH) would finish her OCU career with a great effort, scoring 23 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Senior Jasmine Junkins (SR/Hilliard, OH) also had a good game, scoring 13 points. The Lady Trailblazers finished their 2016-17 with an overall record of 22-11 while going 11-6 in the River States Conference. Despite it not ending as they intended, OCU has plenty to build on as they look to continue their recent success into the future.
"In many ways today was our national championship with Roberts Wesleyan being the defending champion and overall #1 seed, so we knew we had to be ready to play," said Head Coach Jamey Batten. "We gave up a run in the 4th quarter and found ourselves down 17 with five minutes left. We called a timeout and just challenged the girls to empty the tank and finish with no regrets. We responded with five steals and a 14-0 run and had the ball with a chance to tie in the final minute. We came up short but this game was bigger than just that. It was an exclamation mark on a great season and the kind of program and the kind of people we are. We work hard and we never quit. Instead of clinging to excuses in the face of adversity, we became the solution and that is why we can look back at this season and be proud of all that we have accomplished."
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