IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas women's basketball team emerged victorious, 60-56, over University of the Ozarks on Thursday. Leading UD scorer Michelle DeCoud (Monument, Colo.) matched a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds (game-high) for her third double-double in a row on the season.
DeCoud's final five points – three from the free throw line – helped the Crusaders hold onto a narrow lead late in a game that they never trailed once in. Olivia Severson (La Crosse, Wis.) forced a jump ball after a potential game-tying three was missed by the Eagles with 16 seconds. DeCoud was fouled on the next possession and split at the line to give her the exact number of points she had in her other home game this year.
Dallas improved to 3-2, while the Eagles dropped to 1-3.
HOW IT HAPPENED
DeCoud started the Dallas scoring with the first basket of the game about a minute in. Cassie Emerson responded with two free throws a few plays later for the only tie in the matchup. Six straight points followed for the Crusaders with free throws by Celsi Caraway (Arlington, Texas) and back-to-back layups by DeCoud.
Later in the first quarter, Jules Oliveti (Southlake, Texas) made consecutive UD field goals to open a double figure advantage (18-6) with 4:19. The home squad netted 20 points in the frame with 18 scored in the paint. DeCoud swiped one of her three steals with barely a minute and a half to start a fast break scenario. Shelby Waldron (Banning, Calif.) picked up the assist as she dished off to Vanessa Diaz (San Antonio, Texas) for the 20-9 edge.
A pair of made shots at the free throw stripe by Caraway and then later an inside jumper by Helen Onyenso (Oak Park, Ill.) kept the Dallas advantage at 12 at five minutes and 2:50 remaining prior to halftime. A steal and then finish by Diaz with 1:38 led the greatest lead for the home squad 33-18.
Ozarks never quit though as the third quarter featured 19 points for the guests. After compiling 20 in the first half, the Eagles outscored their opponent by nine in the remaining two quarters of regulation.
Hailey Ostrander netted a three-pointer at 4:15 in the third to reduce the gap to five (40-35). UD's Oliveti responded two minutes later with the next points on a layup. With 1:21 left, Francesca Weisbruch (Temple, Texas) picked off a pass and had a fast break layup extend the lead back to nine. A later jumper by UO's Anisha Johnson closed the frame out 46-39.
The Eagles battled the final 10 minutes by trailing no more than eight points at any juncture. Nearly four minutes passed before either team found net, with Ostrander drilling her other three-pointer to make it 46-42.
Two free throws by DeCoud and then a jumper by Oliveti extended the deficit back to eight momentarily. A quick four-point swing in 20 seconds with just under halfway past in the fourth allowed the margin back down to four.
Onyenso split at the charity stripe at 3:51 to place Dallas up by eight (54-46) again, but then a 10-3 scoring run got the Eagles within a point (57-56) and 40 ticks left on the clock. DeCoud was fouled 10 seconds later and sank both attempts at the line. The senior was responsible for nine points in the fourth quarter.
UD was 15-for-23 (65.2%) at the line and outrebounded its opponent 47-43. Each of those categories proved crucial down the stretch in the Crusader's closest final margin on the young season.
Besides DeCoud's big night, Onyenso matched a career-high 15 points for two straight games, and pulled down seven rebounds. Caraway had all 11 points in the first 20 minutes. Nine occurred in the second quarter. The sophomore guard dished six assists to tie a career-most from last season at Centenary College (Jan. 14).
Emerson paced the Eagles with 19 points to tie UD's leader in season points. She finished third on the team with seven boards. Diamond Goodwyn hauled in 10 rebounds to go with eight points. Anisha Johnson added nine points and balls off the glass.
The teams tied in offensive boards with 16. Dallas outscored its foe 42-24 inside the paint, while the Eagles were better in fewer turnovers (24-22), second chance points (12-10), fastbreak points (12-10), and bench points (14-10).
DeCoud continued her average above 18 points and has been the top scorer in all contests this season. She was responsible for all blocks to give her 105 all-time.
The Crusaders registered four blocks, which matched a season-high from their home opener.
31 defensive rebounds is the most this winter for UD.
Dallas hosts Johnson & Wales University (CO) this Saturday at 1 p.m.