JBU women go 1-1 on Florida trip

Golden Eagles play first home game Nov. 28 against Oklahoma City

Photo courtesy of Southeastern University

John Browns Tarrah Stephens (right) dribbles the ball as Southeasterns Anja Knoflach guards Nov. 18 at The Furnace on the campus of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.
Photo courtesy of Southeastern University John Browns Tarrah Stephens (right) dribbles the ball as Southeasterns Anja Knoflach guards Nov. 18 at The Furnace on the campus of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After a low-scoring affair was tied at 20 heading into the intermission, the Golden Eagles shot 10-of-15 in the third quarter to rebound from early offensive difficulties as the John Brown University women's basketball team posted a 64-42 win over Southeastern (Fla.) on Nov. 18 inside The Furnace in the final day of the Southeastern Classic.

Senior Natalie Smith led all players with 16 points on four triples, as she added seven rebounds and a trio of assists to pace the four Golden Eagles in double-digit scoring.

The Golden Eagles (3-3) suffered through a 1-of-17 spell in the first quarter, but found themselves trailing by just two points, 9-7, at the end of the first quarter. The second stanza wasn't much better for either team as the squads both shot under 30 percent.

Then the tides began to turn after halftime.

Smith went off for eight points in the third as the Golden Eagles poured in 4-of-5 attempts from behind the arc. JBU hit 10-of-15 from the field in the third, with six different players scoring, to build a 10-point advantage, 45-35, entering the final period. JBU scored 25 third-quarter points after netting just 20 in the first half.

The offensive efforts in the fourth cooled slightly for JBU, but hovering around 50 percent (7-of-15) from the floor allowed the Golden Eagles to continue to build their lead. Smith added another pair of triples as the Fire (3-3) shot just 2-of-13 overall over the final 10 minutes of play.

Junior Emily Sanders shot 4-of-8 and 3-of-5 from long range to contribute 13 points, four assists and three steals. Senior Tarrah Stephens added 12 points and eight rebounds while senior Bella Irlenborn led the rebounding effort and grabbed her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

John Brown won the rebounding battle, 47-35, and used 15 offensive rebounds to add 12 second-chance points. While Southeastern committed two more turnovers, 13-11, the Fire finished the classic shooting just 27 percent (15-of-56) as only one player, Mya Herman, figured in double-digit scoring (10 points).

Hitting 11-of-13 at the free-throw line (85 percent), John Brown recovered offensively to finish the evening 22-of-61 (36 percent) from the field, nine makes coming from deep.

With the nonconference portion of the schedule in the rear-view mirror, the Golden Eagles will begin Sooner Athletic action on Nov. 28 when John Brown welcomes Oklahoma City to Bill George Arena. The 6 p.m. tip will be carried live on the SAC Sports Network.

St. Thomas 77, John Brown 56

Senior Tarrah Stephens returned to form and scored a team-leading 21 points, shooting over 50 percent from the floor, but the Golden Eagles couldn't overcome a cold shooting performance as St. Thomas (Fla.) handed the John Brown University women's basketball team a 77-56 loss on Nov. 17 inside The Furnace at the Southeastern Classic.

Stephens hit 9-of-17 from the floor and nearly completed her first double-double of the early season with nine rebounds and a pair of assists. Junior Emily Sanders and senior Natalie Smith each scored a dozen apiece, but a 20-of-62 shooting performance was overshadowed by a Bobcats (3-2) squad that scored at a 41 percent clip (27-of-66) – including five more buckets from behind the arc.

John Brown won the turnover battle, 17-16, but allowed St. Thomas to convert 17 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points. The Bobcats also heavily won the battle of the boards, 50-36, with five players recording at least six caroms.

Leading 10-5 in the early going, fueled by eight points from Stephens, the Golden Eagles shot 47 percent (7-of-15) in the first quarter, but four STU triples aided the Bobcats in tying the score before the end of the stanza at 21.

A combined 7-of-36 (19 percent) from the field over the next 20 minutes made it difficult for John Brown as St. Thomas used the offensive dry spell to mount a 15-point lead, 55-40, entering the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was much tighter as JBU rediscovered its shooting touch, hitting 55 percent of its attempts (6-of-11) from the field. The Bobcats, meanwhile, countered the renewed John Brown offense by securing six offensive rebounds and draining five of its 13 triples in the final 10 minutes of action.

Brooke Bogatz sank 6-of-9 from behind the arc and finished the night with a game-high 25 points, adding six rebounds and four assists for the Bobcats. Bria Brown added 14 points, while Marta Franco contributed 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds in St. Thomas' second-consecutive win.