ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – In a game that somewhat mirrored Thursday’s conference opener, the Savage Storm erased a double-digit deficit only to run out of gas and fall to Ouachita Baptist 81-74 on Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia, Ark.
The loss dropped SE to 1-5 overall on the season and 0-2 in Great American Conference play as the team will now return home for a three-game home stand that begins with a conference matchup against Arkansas tech at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
“The first half was identical to Henderson and Commerce,” said head coach Darin Grover, “Where we had a complete breakdown on both sides of the ball. We dug ourselves in a hole and those holes are tough to dog out of.”
“I was proud of the way they fought back,” Grover continued, “But you can’t get down that much and expect to win too many games.”
It was another rough shooting night for the Storm as the team finished at 35.6 percent from the field, however the defense stepped up and held OBU to just a 37.7 percent shooting mark.
Neither team was hitting from long range as each club made just one three in the game, however both teams spent plenty of time on the free throw line as they combined to shoot 71 free throws in the game. SE finished at 86.1 percent, hitting 31-of-36, while the Tigers hit 80.0 percent or 28-of-35.
The difference in the game came on the offensive glass where OBU turned 18 offensive rebounds into a 24-9 advantage in second chance points.
Bailey Welch turned in her second-straight 20-point performance, finishing at 20 points exactly on the strength of a 10-for-10 effort from the charity stripe.
Welch and English each finished with a pair of assists.
The first half did not go well for the Storm as the Tigers took the early lead and slowly pulled away, eventually pushing its lead out to double digits.
A quick spurt late would get SE to within six points on a Cheree Kiser jumper, but OBU would answer with a 9-0 run to lead 39-24 with 1:07 to play in the half.
Southeastern would end the half with a 7-2 run capped by a Kayle Reaves three pointer to end the half trailing 41-31.
OBU came out and pushed its lead back out to 15 points before the Storm used a 9-0 run capped by a pair of Welch free throws to trim the deficit to 48-42 with 14:45 to play.
The Tigers would hit a free throw and SE would pick up the momentum again with an 8-0 run that ends with a pair of Reaves free throws that put the Storm in front 50-49 for its first lead of the game.
The teams would trade buckets and would sit tied at 52-52 with 11:11 to play.
The Tigers would use nine-straight points to take control of the game and a 61-52 lead with 9:54 remaining.
SE would get it back to a five point deficit, but OBU would answer by pushing its lead back out to double figures at 75-64 with 3:49 to play.
The Storm would score the next six points and would trail 75-70 with 2:50 to play on a Welch jumper.
The deficit would shrink to four points with less than a minute to play on a pair of Welch free throws, but SE would get no closer as OBU would hold off the charge for the 81-74 win.