TAHLEQUAH — Chelsey Stricklen, Fontana Tate and Sarah Green all found a way to maximize their offensive output on Tuesday night.
The trio — which combined for only 15 points — hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half to help propel the RiverHawks to a wire-to-wire, 64-48 victory over Northwest Oklahoma State at Jack Dobbins Field House.
“They played a hard pressure game, and I don’t think we responded to it real well and had a hard time staying in our offense,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “In spurts, I think our kids did finally respond there in the middle of the second half.”
With the Rangers hanging around at the 13:19 mark of the second half, Stricklen buried a trey from the left wing to give the RiverHawks a 43-38 advantage. Twenty-five seconds later, Tate did the same, and just like that, NSU was up eight (46-38).
Then, Green — not known for her long-range shooting ability — followed suit with her only 3-point attempt of the contest, which she drained to give NSU a 49-38 edge.
“That was very important,” said NSU’s Tosha Tyler, who led the RiverHawks with 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field. “It seemed that every time we would score and get up eight or nine, they would come back and were always responding. But (those made 3-pointers) were the final gap we had to make before they quit coming back so much.”
Northwestern Oklahoma State coach Eric Bozeman knew NSU’s shooting prowess would appear at some point.
“That was a huge blow, but that’s what they do,” said Bozeman, whose club dropped to 0-3. “We chased ‘em all night and fought them all night, but they [were] 23rd in the country and their coach does a heck of a job, and I thought his kids stepped up to the challenge.”