While it may have taken a little longer than they wanted, the Abundant Life Lady Owls snatched a 56-53 conference win over Mount Ida Tuesday night at home.
A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Lauren McClendon at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime. McClendon scored 23 points in the win, including six in the overtime period. A nice way to end the night on her birthday.
"We came out slow in the second half, but started hitting some big shots and came back," said Abundant Life coach Lydia Fincher. "We were six of six from the free throw line in overtime. That was huge."
McClendon was four of four from the line in OT, while Samantha Sobba helped out with a pair of freebies.
With the slow start coming out of halftime, the Lady Owls found themselves down by 10 points midway through the quarter. Abundant Life trailed 24-20 at halftime.
The Lady Owls jumped ahead 7-5 early in the game, but fell back 14-10 by the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Owls crept back into the game over the final four minutes of the third. McClendon had another buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter, making a pull-up jumper as time expired to cut the Lady Lions’ lead down to 36-34 going into the fourth quarter.
In overtime, the Lady Owls watched the Lady Lions jump ahead again. Mt. Ida scored five quick points on a jumper and a three-point play.
Abundant Life answered that with a three-pointer by Ashleigh Batte, another basket by McClendon and the free throws that iced the win.
"We’re playing better, we’re getting there," said Fincher. "We’re becoming a more aggressive team and that’s what I want."
Abundant Life put that aggressive nature to good use over the Christmas break by making it to the finals of the McKinney Christian Tournament in Dallas.
The Dallas Thunder, a home school basketball organization, beat Abundant Life 54-45 in the tournament finals.
The Lady Owls are off the rest of the week as Friday night is a bye on the schedule. Next week could be a challenge however, as Abundant Life travels first to Magnet Cove and then to Cutter Morning Star.
"Magnet Cove is good, they are very good," Fincher said. "We beat Cutter Morning Star by 14 the first time we played, but this time we’re at their place and you can’t take anyone for granted."