By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---The No. 8 Owens Community College women's basketball team shrugged off a slow start offensively to pick up a 99-63 win over Clark State Community College in the Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) today.
Clark State opened the game by scoring the first five points. Moments later, they finished a run of three consecutive 3-pointers and led 11-6.
Kyra Johnson (Stevenson/Livonia, Mich.) responded by draining a pair of free throws for Owens, and then Jeryn Reese (Mansfield/Mansfield, Ohio) entered the game and energized the offense by scoring five straight points and pulling Owens within one with 3:21 left in the first quarter.
Ariel Bethea (Huron/Ann Arbor, Mich.), who is now 4-for-8 from 3-point range over the past four games, followed Reese's effort with a 3-pointer to give Owens its first lead at 18-16.
Mekaila Grose (Madison/Mansfield, Ohio) finished the quarter with a layup following an offensive rebound from Johnson to propel Owens to a 24-21 lead.
Danesha Bryant's 3-pointer to open the second quarter knotted the game at 24 apiece, but two straight layups from Reese started a 7-0 run. At that point, however, Clark State answered with an 8-0 run and led 32-31 with 3:33 left.
It was the last time Owens trailed.
At that point, Owens started to take control. Following a timeout, Bethea completed a three point play to begin a 14-0 run. Chelsea Daniels buried a 3-pointer to end the run, but Grose converted a three point play and Aysah Ingram (Trotwood-Madison/Trotwood, Ohio) made a layup just before the buzzer to end the half on a 19-3 run and give Owens a 50-35 lead.
In the first half, two Owens players reached milestones. Lakyn Gulley (South Side/Fort Wayne, Ind.) made a trio of 3-pointers to break the program's single season record of 85 previously held by Erin Bartley and Dawn Spencer from the 1996-97 season. Also, Tatyana Reynolds (Rogers/Toledo, Ohio) made two free throws with 33 seconds left in the first quarter to reach 500 points in her career.
In the third quarter, Owens gradually stretched its lead. Reynolds hit a 3-pointer with 6:14 left to give her team a 62-42 lead. Later, Bethea scored four straight points to make it a 25 point lead before Ingram's layup with 32 seconds left propelled Owens to a 77-51 lead through three quarters.
Mikayla Ward (Huron/Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Gulley each scored to open the fourth as Owens led 81-51. Later in the quarter, with 54 seconds left, Briana Williams (Stebbins/Dayton, Ohio) hit a jumper to give Owens a 96-61 lead, which marked the largest lead of the game.
Bethea closed the game's scoring with a steal and a fast break layup with 14 seconds left. Clark State dribbled out the clock after that.
Reese led Owens offensively with 20 points, nine rebounds (six offensive), four steals and three blocks on 9-for-18 shooting. Bethea was just behind her with 16 points, six steals, three rebounds and two assists. Ingram added 12 points and nine rebounds to give the trio of Reese, Bethea and Ingram 48 points off the bench.
Williams had her team's lone double-double with 14 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and five steals, while Gulley added 14 points, four steals, four assists, three rebounds and two blocks. Ward added six points, a team-high 10 rebounds and a team-high three blocks.
For Clark State (10-15 overall), Alexandra Lee produced 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Danesha Bryant had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. DeKayla Hunter added 15 points off the bench, and Daniels had 13 points.
Owens is now 22-6 overall. They have won 12 straight entering next Wednesday's 5:30 p.m. home tilt against Lakeland Community College.
With today's 12 assist effort, Williams now has 168 assists this year and 290 in her career. She is chasing the single season record of 226 and the career mark of 329.
Owens hasn't lost since Dec. 30.
Gulley's four steal effort gives her 85 this year, which is 18 away from breaking the single season record of 102 held by Elizabeth Harris from 1997-98. In addition to breaking the season 3-point field goals made record today, she also holds the single game 3-point field goals attempted and the single season 3-point field goals attempted records.
Reynolds joined Williams as two players from this year's sophomore class to eclipse 500 career points.
Prior to today's game, Owens honored its sophomore class. The five member class has a combined 56-8 overall record, including a 26-0 record in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play. They have won two OCCAC championships, one Region XII championship, are 24-1 at home and completed a school record 47 game regular season home winning streak earlier this year. They are also five wins away from becoming the winningest sophomore class in program history after winning 33 straight and finishing 34-2 overall last year.