Griffons reach new heights in Oklahoma

Review Sports Women's Basketball

No. 7 Western completed the Oklahoma sweep as they defeated Northeastern State and Central Oklahoma last weekend.

Head coach Rob Edmisson believes that long, late season road trips can show a lot about where your team is.

“I think a late trip like that, you get a really good sense of where your kids are at with each other because they have to spend so much time with each other. My take on it showed some really positive things as I watched our kids spend quality time with each other,” Edmisson said. “This bunch is still really focused and still have a great purpose for what they’re trying to get done.”

The Griffons pulled into Tahlequah, Oklahoma to face the 8-16 Northeastern State RiverHawks last Thursday.

Previously, Western was pitted against Northeastern State at the Fieldhouse and won in a dominating fashion 88-49.

This road game would be no different as the Griffons dismantled the RiverHawks 88-57.

Senior LaQuinta Jefferson passed the 1,000-career point mark and led all scorers with 21 points off of 9-11 shooting, followed by senior Sarafina Handy who scored 16 points, including 4-5 three-pointers. As a team, the Griffons shot 69 percent from the field and 58 percent from beyond the arc.

Next on the list was a date with the 16-8 Central Oklahoma Bronchos in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Central Oklahoma kept the game close against Western earlier in the season in the Fieldhouse, but the Griffons were able to escape with an eight-point 77-69 victory.

The Griffons took control of this game early and held on through the end.

In the first quarter, Western piled on a commanding 21-6 lead, but would be outscored in the second quarter 14-18, to go into halftime with a 36-24 lead.

Both teams were evenly matched in the second half, with the Griffons scoring 53 total points and the Bronchos scoring 54. Although Central Oklahoma narrowly outscored Western, it would not be enough to take the lead as the Griffons went on to win 88-78.

It was a record day for Handy, as she made a career record six threes in the game and led the team with a career-high tying 26 points. Three other Griffons scored in double digits in Jefferson with 18, along with fellow seniors Mili Koyamainavure and Mhykeah Baez who scored 16 and 14 points respectively.

Although multiple members on the team have been playing well, Edmisson knows that Handy has been playing on another level.

“Right now, she’s the best player on our team in terms of efficiency and shot selection,” Edmisson said. “If she was on another team right now, she might be competing for player of the year in the conference herself.”

With Western near the end of their schedule, Edmisson thinks there’s still another gear that the Griffons can tap into.

“I don’t think we’re playing our best basketball, I think there’s still another level this team can reach, but whether we get there or not, I don’t know, but I still think there’s more in there,” Edmisson said.

The Griffons face rival Northwest Missouri State on Saturday in Maryville to closeout the last home game of the regular season.