After both the No. 3 USAO Drovers (21-10, 15-7 SAC) and the No. 2 Wayland Baptist Flying Queens (26-5, 19-3 SAC) won in their round one matchups they will now face off in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament Semi-Finals. In the opening round the Drovers played the No. 6 John Brown University. USAO dominated John Brown with a 70-43 win. Wayland Baptist played No. 7 Texas Wesleyan and like USAO the Flying Queens would breeze through game 1 with an 83-58 victory.
The USAO Drovers are set to play the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens Friday, March 1st at 1 p.m. This game will be played in Oklahoma City at the Henry J. Freede Wellness Center. The winner of this game will advance to the SAC Championship game and play the winner of Oklahoma City/SAGU.
What To Know About USAO:
USAO comes into this game 8-1 in the month of February. The Drovers have also won 14 of their last 16 games, including a 77-70 win over Wayland Baptist back on January 26th. The Drovers are led by Vivian Holcomb, who is having a season to remember, averaging 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists per game for the Drovers. Holcomb has picked up 20 double-doubles for the Drovers on the season. Reyna Ammons has also had an incredible season putting up 15 points, 2 assists and 3 steals per game for USAO. Ammons just recently cracked 100 steals on the season in the game against John Brown University. Kaytlen Johnson is averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds per game. Johnson is coming off a quality performance against John Brown where she scored 10 points and dished out 11 assists for the Drovers. The Drovers underrated player to watch is Tori James, who is averaging 7 points per game and is shooting 34% from behind the arc. Her best game came back on January 17th, when she put up 20 points and shot 6-10 from the three-point line.
USAO Guard Tori James said “I would say that from the beginning of the season to the end, we are a totally different team. We’ve fought through a lot of tough times and we have became a family with a unbreakable bond and it shows on the court. I know that with whatever comes our way we won’t ever stop fighting together to achieve our goals.”
The Drovers are coached by Darrick Matthews, who is in his 4th season as a coach for USAO. Last season Matthews led the Drovers to a 29-6 record where they would play in the SAC championship game and play into the second round of the NAIA basketball tournament. Sirena Matthew and Dierra Ely are the two Drovers assistant coaches. Matthews is in her 4th season and Ely is in her 1st season.
Head Coach Darrick Matthews said “We feel like we are a team that is still climbing the mountain. We feel like we have so much basketball left and the girls are not yet ready to hang up the sneakers. That’s the mentality we all have. We want to prove to everyone that we are an elite program. As a team, everyone one was very focused and engaged with everything we were doing. Everyone understood and executed our game plan. Our chemistry has been off the charts and that’s definitely contributing to our success. Everyone is playing well together, but more importantly, they are believing in each other’s ability and making plays for one another. Our biggest focus as we approach the semifinal game against Wayland is to take it one game at a time and to continue to improve on the small things. Of course we will have a scout and game plan on Wayland, but we want to make sure we are executing our plays on both ends of the floor. We have a chance a chance to do something special and to even make history and everyone is all about being “All In” to make that happen.”
What To Know About Wayland Baptist:
The 8th ranked Flying Queens have won 9 of their last 10 games with a big win over 10th ranked Oklahoma City 76-61 back on February 16th. Wayland Baptist is led by Kaylee Edgemon who is scoring 13 points and grabbing 5 rebounds per game. Edgemon is shooting 35% from behind the three-point line for the Pioneers on the season. Maci Merket is averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists for Wayland Baptist. She had a good game in the first round of the SAC tournament, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Kambrey Blakey is scoring 12 points and racking up 5 rebounds per game for the Flying Queens. She is also shooting 39% from behind the arc. The Flying Queens underrated player to watch is Morgan Bennett as she is averaging 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. One of Bennett’s best games came against Central Christian where she scored 13 points and finished her night with 11 assists.
Wayland Baptist Guard Morgan Bennett said “This time of the season is a grind and I think we have all felt the effects of it, but we have reestablished our goals for this season and ready to get after USAO this Friday. They always play us tough so it will be a fight but I think we are prepared and are playoff ready!”
The Flying Queens are coached by Alesha Ellis, who is in her 6th season with Wayland Baptist. In 2017-18 season Ellis led the Flying Queens to a very successful season as they finished 27-7, which was the most wins since 1988 season. The Wayland Baptist assistant coaches are Josh Bailey and Brianna Bogard.
The Season series is deadlocked at one, as both teams won on their home floor. In meeting one the Flying Queens beat the Drovers 71-65, and in meeting two the Drovers knocked off Wayland Baptist 77-70.