By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- In their first action since December 22nd, the No. 9 ranked Owens Express were able to shake off the rust to claim an important OCCAC victory of Sinclair, who is ranked No. 15 in Division II. The Tartan Pride were voted as the OCCAC favorites to end Owens's streak of four straight conference titles, but the Express struck the first blow to those chances in a 55-47 victory.
The two teams would play nip and tuck throughout much of the basketball game. Owens trailed Sinclair by a point at the end of the first period at 13-12. Owens was able to outscore the Tartan Pride in the second period, 14-12, to take a 26-25 lead into the locker room.
Sinclair would get off to a quick start in third, going on a 5-0 run to start the period to take a four point lead. The Express would settle down though, and they would claw their way back into the basketball game, taking a 40-39 lead to the final period of play, thanks to a pair of Taylor Works layups in the final minute of the third.
Much like they did at the beginning of the half, Sinclair would get off to a quick start in the fourth, scoring the first five points of the quarter, to take another four point lead with 8:08 to play in the ball game. The Express would only allow the Tartan Pride to score three more points the remainder of the ball game. Owens would close the game on a 15-3 run to garner the eight point victory.
The Express were led in scoring by sophomore Taylor Works. She scored 21 points on 9-13 shooting and she was also 3-4 from the free throw line. She also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Moreina Moore was the only other player in double figures, with 16 points on 7-13 shooting. The Worthington, OH native also grabbed seven caroms and had four steals during the game.
Whitney Thames was a beast of the boards, finishing with a team high 16 rebounds, including nine of the offensive variety. As a team, the Express grabbed 11 more rebounds than Sinclair in the ball game.
Owens shot 35.5% (22-62) from the floor as a team while Sinclair shot just 29.8% (17-57) from thge field.
The Express are now 9-7 overall and they are 4-1 in the OCCAC. They trail Lakeland by half a game in the conference standings, although Lakeland has two conference games in hand on the Express. Owens will next be in action on Saturday at Hocking College. Tip off is scheduled for 1:00 PM against the Hawks. \
- Owens jumped back up to No. 9 in the latest NJCAA Division III poll. Owens had dropped out of the Top Ten in the final poll taken before the Christmas break. The Express closed 2018 on a three game winning streak, which allowed them to reenter the poll. The Express have now won four games in a row.