Lady Blazers Advance to National Championship Game

The Ohio Christian University women's basketball team faced #2 Southwestern Christian University (Oklahoma) on Friday night in the Final Four of the NCCAA National Tournament.  The Lady Blazers hot shooting and pressure defense propelled them  to a 39-25 lead at the half. 

Head Coach Mandy Wray said, "Our girls really came out ready to play in the first half.  We lost to them earlier this season, but we felt like we were a different team than we were when we played them in December.  We switched things up quite a bit on defense, which gave them some problems, and executed really well in the first half and knocked down some big shots to help build the lead at the break."

When OCU's senior All-American guard Brenda Carter went down with an injury with 16 minutes left in the second half, the remaining six Lady Blazers stepped up in her absence, fought through adversity, and played with determination to finish the game with a 77-70 victory.  All seven of the Lady Trailblazers scored and contributed significantly in the win. 

Junior forward Danielle Fleming finished with another double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.  Freshman guard Shelby Roe added 17 points, while freshman Dannyel Butte chipped in 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals.  Junior forward Angela Thorne had another solid game with 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Carter finished with 10 points and 3 assists before going out with an injury. 

"I was so proud of the way our girls responded tonight," Wray said.  "When Brenda went down early in the second half, they could have given up, but instead everyone stepped up and contributed.  Our theme the entire season has been to perservere through adversity, and the girls really did that tonight. We give God all the glory for everything we have accomplished."

In their first ever appearance at the NCCAA National Tournament, the Lady Blazers have advanced to the National Championship game and will face Mid-East Regional foe Kentucky Christian University (for the fourth time this season).  It is the first time in school history that any OCU team has reached the NCCAA National Title game. 

The NCCAA Division II Women's National Championship between Ohio Christian and Kentucky Christian will tip-off at 7pm on Saturday night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The game can be followed live by clicking on the following link and registering with a username and password at: http://www.pbucrimsoneagles.com/sports/2009/12/1/WBB_1201092900.aspx?id=34