By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Essence Cowan (Lima Senior/Lima, Ohio) buried 7-for-10 from long range and finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the No. 2 Owens Community College women's basketball team past Lakeland Community College 91-30 on the road tonight.
With the win, Owens stayed undefeated at 20-0 overall and 7-0 in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play entering Saturday's big road showdown at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College at 1 p.m. Lakeland fell to 4-11 overall and 1-5 in OCCAC play with the loss.
Owens, playing in its first game as the nation's No. 2 ranked team, has now won 34 straight regular season games dating back to Jan. 6 of last year. They also pushed the program's regular season conference winning streak to 41 dating back to Feb. 8, 2014, and they've won 17 of the first 20 games by at least 30 points.
Without the services of starting guard Sybil Roseboro (Elyria/Elyria, Ohio), Owens got off to a slow start and led just 17-5 through one quarter despite scoring the game's first five points in 35 seconds. Cowan hit a pair of 3-pointers over the final two minutes to give Owens a boost going into the next 10 minutes.
Similar to the first quarter, Owens scored the first five in the second quarter, this time over a span of 37 seconds, on a layup from Olivia Frost (North Baltimore/North Baltimore, Ohio) and a 3-pointer from Cowan.
Following a jumper from Lakeland's Patricia Cistrunk that pulled her team within 15 with 8:20 left in the half, Owens went on a 13-0 run, capped by back-to-back layups from Kaylah Ivey (Westerville South/Westerville, Ohio) and Brenda Pennington (Bishop Noll/Hammond, Ind.), to push the lead to 37-9.
Cistrunk hit shotst at the end of the half and the start of the third quarter for Lakeland, but Ariel Bethea (Huron/Ann Arbor, Mich.) scored six points during a 10-3 run to give Owens a 53-20 lead.
Alicia Sephus scored three straight points for Lakeland in response, but Owens then scored the next seven points, which included a free throw from Haili Mossing (Evergreen/Metamora, Ohio), a jumper from Denissa Sly (Northmont/Engelwood, Ohio), a layup from Ivey and a layup from Courizma Williams (Hughes/Cincinnati, Ohio).
Cowan made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Owens a 63-25 lead. Then, Owens went on a 15-0 run over a four minute stretch early in the fourth quarter to open up a 79-27 lead.
Frost buried a 3-pointer a short time later before Mossing converted a second chance layup with 1:18 left to close the game's scoring.
Cowan, who also added seven rebounds, produced her fourth 20-point effort of the season and set a new season-high for most 3-point field goals made in a game. Ivey finished second on the team with 15 points, while pulling down a season-high 19 rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Bethea (13), Pennington (12) and Jeryn Reese (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) with 10 also scored in double figures. Bethea added six rebounds, five steals and four assists, while Pennington had a game-high nine assists.
Cistrunk and Sephus each had a team-high 12 points for Lakeland. Cistrunk had a team-high 12 rebounds, as well.
As a team, Owens outrebounded Lakeland 71-34.
Bethea now has 95 steals this year, just two shy of matching her total from last year in five fewer games played. That total also puts her eight shy of breaking Lakyn Gulley's single season record of 103 that was set last season. Eight more steals would also give her an even 200 for her career, which would increase the record she already holds.
With her output tonight, Reese now has 763 career points, which puts her six points from passing Unique Lane (2007-09, 768) for 15th place all-time in scoring. Bethea, meanwhile, now has 555 career points, which puts her 38th all-time.
Pennington now has six or more assists in five straight games. Tonight was the third time in which she has recorded a season-high nine assists.
Ivey's double-digit rebounding night was her eighth of the season.