NORMAN — Midwest City wasn’t supposed to be the same old Midwest City walking into the North Gym on Tuesday night. But the female Bombers looked a lot like the old Midwest City.
It didn’t help that Norman North was without sophomore starter Hayley Woodard, who was recovering from having her wisdom teeth removed. Nor did it help that Timberwolves’ leading scorer Bri Kuestersteffen, with plenty of help from the Bomber defense, suffered an unusually cold night from the field.
Midwest City left with a 44-40 victory.
The night appeared set up for North. At Midwest City, the T-Wolves fell in overtime. And by Bomber standards, this is a down year. They didn’t look like it Tuesday
“They’re just physically stronger than us,” North coach Jeff Blough said. “That was the biggest thing about the game.”
That meant the T-Wolves (12-6) struggled to set screens for their shooters. The Bombers (10-8) also had an athletic edge, which meant every North drive toward the basket was cut off before proving too dangerous.
“I think we played hard, but they just played a little harder,” North center Julian Mougell said. “They were just a little bit stronger.”
Maybe not stronger than Mougell, who finished with 16 points in the post on 6-of-7 shooting and 4-of-6 accuracy from the free-throw line. But there was little help from other sources.
Tia Williams came off the bench to offer North a huge second quarter, scoring nine points that staked the T-Wolves to a 20-13 halftime edge, but she didn’t score again. Alexa Scott finished with seven points and six rebounds. And Kuestersteffen, on 1-of-11 shooting, added just four points.
Meanwhile, with a bunch of their damage coming in a 19-point third quarter that included 9-of-11 Bomber shooting, Jasauen Beard (8-of-11 shooting, 17 points) and Quemari Boyd (6-of-10 shooting, 16 points) combined for all but 11 of Midwest City’s points.
The game was tied for the last time, 34-34, halfway through the fourth quarter. From there, the Bombers lead 37-34, 39-36 and 40-37 after Kara Partridge hit one of two free throws with 32 seconds remaining.
That was when Mougell turned in her most regrettable play of the night, grabbing the rebound on the missed free throw but throwing it away to Partridge, who put it right back in the basket.
On the other end, Sam Landreth, with her only shot of the night, swished a right-corner 3-pointer that made it 42-40 with 13 seconds remaining, but two free throws from Boyd iced the Bomber victory.
It was a tough loss to swallow, but Blough believes his team will handle it.
“We’re fine,” he said. “This group is resilient. We just have to find a way to get over the hump and win these close games.”
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