Philip Dowden, Assistant Athletic Director
POINT LOOKOUT — An upset bid for the Evangel women’s basketball team came up just short Tuesday night.
The Crusaders rallied back from 12 down twice to pull within three with just over a minute left before falling 60-56.
“CofO has a really great crowd and they really get into it,” said second-year head coach Megan Leuzinger. “I wanted our girls to come out with poise and composure and they did that.”
The rally started with 4:06 left in the game a putback from Alexis Roach cut the College of the Ozarks lead to 52-45.
After stout defense marked the entire game by both teams, the Crusaders would get a steal with 1:24 left to set up a three-pointer in the corner by Alexis Cauthon. Cauthon finished with seven points.
Free throws in the final 17 seconds by both teams kept the lead just at arm’s reach from the Crusaders as C of O never trailed in the game.
“We struggled knocking down our outside shot consistently and that’s where we have to learn to fight and scrap to stay in the game,” Leuzinger said. “I was proud of our girls to fight in the second half to erase the deficit.”
Evangel shot 32 percent from the field while College of the Ozarks shot 31 percent. The Crusaders made just two three-pointers going 2 of 16 in the loss, while the Bobcats were 10 of 29.
Brianna Vogts led the way offensively scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Roach added 10 points off the bench to finish in double figures as well.
The Crusaders also out-rebounded the Bobcats 45-43 and forced 12 turnovers. Lexie Vaught finished with five of 12 steals for Evangel and added seven points and nine boards.
“We have a veteran team and it is still early in the season,” Leuzinger added. “We’re trying to figure out lineups during this tough non-conference schedule and it will prepare us as we continue.”
Evangel returns to action next Tuesday in the home opener at the Ashcroft Center against John Brown. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.