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OCU Women Get Past Langston In First Round Of NAIA Tournament

Posted: Updated:
FRANKFORT, Kentucky -

OCU ousted Langston from the NAIA Division I women's basketball tournament 79-71 on Wednesday at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Senior Kayla MacKenzie scored 20 points to surpass 1,000 career points for the Stars. The second-seeded Stars (23-4) advanced to meet seventh-seeded Montana State-Northern at 11:30 a.m. (CT) Friday.

MacKenzie added eight rebounds and three assists. Yvonte Neal piled up 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals and Autumn Huffman notched her second double-double of the season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two steals for OCU.

Ouleymatou Coulibaly pulled in 11 rebounds to help the Stars build a 52-39 rebounding advantage.

"I'm very proud of our young ladies' toughness today on the boards," OCU coach Latricia Trammell said. "I thought we played through the different runs that Langston went on. We showed a sense of urgency to change their momentum by getting stops and winning the extra hustle plays."

OCU notched its 57th victory in NAIA Division I Tournament history. With one more win, OCU would tie Southern Nazarene for second place on the NAIA Tournament victory list.

MacKenzie owns 1,003 career points. MacKenzie reached 1,000 points by sinking free throws with 29.2 seconds left to provide OCU a 74-66 cushion.

"I'm very proud of Kayla getting 1,003 career points," Trammell said. "That is an amazing milestone."

Alex Adekunle cut OCU's lead to 71-66 with 45 seconds left. Autumn Lau answered with a pair of free throws to put the Stars up 73-66 at the 41-second mark. Lau and MacKenzie added two foul shots each to salt away the victory.

MacKenzie led OCU by hitting 9-of-13 from the free-throw line. The Stars tied their season high with 36 made free throws and shot a season-high 50 from the foul line. OCU also hit 36 free throws in its 102-58 victory over Langston on Nov. 28.

The Stars seized the lead with a 13-0 splurge early in the second half. Coulibaly erased Langston's 37-36 edge with a bucket at the 18:28 mark.

Neal provided OCU with six points during the run. Neal tallied a 3-point play with 17:56 left and added a putback to cap the Stars' spree for a 49-37 OCU advantage with 15:01 to go.

Langston's Lynette Holmes fouled out with 4:06 remaining after picking up 18 points and four rebounds. Holmes, the Red River Athletic Conference player of the year, entered the game leading NAIA Division I with 26.8 points a game for Langston (20-13).

Langston built a 17-11 lead after Alanna Lee's free throw with 12:33 left in the first half. OCU wiped its deficit out with an 8-0 run. MacKenzie canned two treys sandwiched around a Coulibaly basket.

Holmes provided Langston a 34-32 edge with 1:57 showing in the first. Cara Pugh banked in a trey with 11 seconds to go to lift the Stars to a 36-34 halftime edge.

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