Flying Queens can’t solve USAO, 66-56

Flying Queens can’t solve USAO, 66-56
Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics

CHICKASHA, Okla. – The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens' hopes for a Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championship suffered a major setback Saturday afternoon as No. 24 Science and Arts of Oklahoma posted a 66-56 victory.

The loss – Wayland's second in three games since knocking off No. 4 and defending national champion Oklahoma City – leaves fifth-ranked Wayland (21-5, 14-4 SAC) in third place in the SAC standings, behind USAO (24-4, 16-3) and OCU (13-5, 15-3). USAO takes on Southwestern Christian in its final game while OCU gets Southwestern Assemblies of God and Texas Wesleyan.

The Flying Queens wrap up the regular-season at home against Bacone (14-12, 6-11) at 6 p.m. Thursday then John Brown (17-10, 11-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday. Saturday is Senior Day.

It was Senior Day for USAO in its game against Wayland, and the Drovers – who defeated the Flying Queens when they met in Plainview on Jan. 11, 71-66 – played inspired.

Wayland never led. The Drovers were up nine, 35-26, at halftime. Wayland got as close as four in the third quarter and was down by six, 48-42, heading into the fourth.

Maci Merket hit a free throw to open the final period, but that was as close as the Flying Queens came. USAO expanded the margin to as many as 15 points.

Wayland was done in by uncharacteristic poor shooting. The Flying Queens made just 31 percent (19-of-61) of their field goals, including 4-of-20 3-pointers, and 61 percent (14-of-23) from the free-throw line.

USAO didn't shoot much better from the field – 42 percent (24-of-57) overall and 15 percent (2-of-13) from long range. But the Drovers hit their foul shots: 16-of-20 for 80 percent.

Merket and Jada Riley were the only Flying Queens in double figures with 12 each. Merket was 0-for-5 from 3-point range, just the fourth time all season and the first time in 16 games the team's top scorer was held without a 3.

Vivian Holcomb led the Drovers, who outrebounded Wayland 44-35, with 17 points and 10 boards. The Drovers were credited with 40 points in the paint, compared to Wayland's 14.

The 56 points represent Wayland's third-lowest of the season, behind a 65-54 loss to Oklahoma Panhandle State on Monday and a 65-52 setback to then No. 3 Campbellsville, Ky., early in the season.