By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Cleveland, Ohio---Lakyn Gulley (South Side/Fort Wayne, Ind.) scored 21 points to lead the No. 7 Owens Community College women's basketball team to a 71-64 win over Cuyahoga Community College in their Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) opener tonight.
Cuyahoga opened the game on a 7-0 run over the first two minutes. Owens took its first lead on a Mikayla Ward (Huron/Ypsilanti, Mich.) jumper with 2:16 left in the first period, but the home team answered back. Despite a jumper from Briana Williams (Stebbins/Dayton, Ohio) with 21 seconds left, Cuyahoga led by one entering the second.
Cuyahoga then got a 3-point play from Darian Carter to take a 21-17 lead in the first minute of the second period. Owens responded with a 3-pointer from Gulley and a layup from Williams to take a 22-21 lead. Following that, they didn't relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game, but it wasn't easy.
Gulley hit a fast break layup four minutes into period for a three point lead. A layup from Kyra Johnson (Stevenson/Livonia, Mich.) gave Owens its second three point lead a minute and a half later, and her shot started an 8-0 run that gave her team some breathing room.
Overall, Owens closed the half on a 15-3 run to take a 40-27 lead. Gulley had 10 points in the second period.
In the third period, Cuyahoga trimmed its deficit to eight on two occassions, the second coming on a pair of Keri Hill free throws with 6:18 left. Gulley, however, hit a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a jumper from Williams to give Owens a 56-44 lead with 1:29 left.
Samaria Tufts hit a fast break layup for Cuyahoga at the buzzer to cut the Owens lead to nine after three.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the fourth before Cuyahoga's Ebony Young hit a jumper to pull her team within seven, the closest they had been since early in the second period.
The two teams then exchanged baskets before Tatyana Reynolds (Rogers/Toledo, Ohio) hit a key 3-pointer from straightaway to give Owens a 66-54 lead with 4:10 left.
A pair of free throws from Williams extended the Owens lead to 14 moments later. The closest Cuyahoga got from there was the final margin, which came via a 3-pointer from Destini Turner with 48 seconds left.
Gulley's 21 points was one off her season high of 22 set on Oct. 31 vs Roane State. She made 5-for-13 from 3-point range, while adding seven rebounds, a team-high six assists and four steals.
Williams added 14 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists, and Reynolds chipped in 11 points and three rebounds. Mekaila Grose (Madison/Mansfield, Ohio) had a team-high two blocks.
As a team, Owens finished 8-for-21 from 3-point range. Aysah Ingram (Trotwood-Madison/Dayton, Ohio) and Jeryn Reese (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) combined for 29 rebounds with Ingram picking up a game-high 16.
Hill led Cuyahoga with 17 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. She had 10 of her points in the third period. Tashanae Duncan added 16 points and Carter had 12, along with seven rebounds. Defensively, Cuyahoga produced 10 blocks.
With the win, Owens improves to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in OCCAC play. They will travel to Dayton, Ohio on Saturday to take on Sinclair Community College at 1 p.m.
Cuyahoga fell to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in OCCAC play with the loss.