By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Despite Lakeland's Dominika King, who had 21 points, 18 rebounds (13 offensive) and two blocks, Owens cruised while improving to 24-4 overall and 9-1 in the OCCAC.
Owens forced 25 Lakeland turnovers, held a 39-8 advantage in points off turnovers, and produced 30 assists compared to only nine for Lakeland.
The game was back-and-forth early until Danielle Bezeau sparked the Express. Her three-pointer gave Owens an 8-7 lead with 14:17 remaining. Then, Bezeau would add a lay-up and Uniqua Mitchell hit a jumper to give the Express a five point lead moments later.
The Express then stretched the lead to 23-12 before King picked up her third foul via a technical with 8:55 remaining in the half. With King on the bench, the Express immediately went on a 7-0 run to lead 30-12. Then, after two Lakeland free throws by Brittney James made it 33-16 with 5:54 remaining, Owens went on a 13-0 run to open up a 46-16 lead with 2:12 remaining. They would enter the break up 52-19.
The Express then opened the second half on a 6-0 run before eventually reaching their largest lead, 46, with 10:28 remaining. In the game's final 7:35, King produced 11 points and nine rebounds.
Kieona Foster almost notched a triple-double for the Express as she finished with 11 points, a season-high 11 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and one block. Bezeau added 10 points off the bench.
Hall finished 7-for-11 from the field overall, 3-for-6 from three point range and 5-for-6 from the foul line. The sophomore forward added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Additionally, with her 22 points, Hall has now moved into 2nd place on the career scoring list. She passed her former teammate, Jasmine Blanton (2009-10, 961 points) tonight.
Hall is now at 966 points and is 34 points shy of becoming only the second Express women's basketball player with 1,000 career points. Amy Amstutz (1997-99) is at the top of the career scoring list at 1,198 points.
Additionally, Hall has now scored 20 or more points in five straight games and seven out of the last nine.
Meanwhile, Ricketts finished a solid 10-for-15 from the field overall, while adding three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Mitchell and Mackenzie Heacock added nine points each, while Hailey Galvan blocked two shots. Galvan is now six blocks short of the single season record held by Brittany Darling (2009-10, 127 blocks).
The Express finished 35-for-67 overall from the field, 10-for-29 from three point range and 15-for-27 from the foul line. Lakeland finished 22-for-62 overall, 3-for-15 from three point range and 12-for-19 from the foul line.
Aside from their domination in assists, turnovers and points off turnovers, the Express outscored Lakeland in bench points (27-15) and points in the paint (38-28).
Lakeland fell to 11-14 overall and 1-8 in the OCCAC.
The Express are now set for a rematch against No. 2 Cincinnati State (25-1, 9-0 OCCAC). Should the Express win, they will move into a share of the conference lead with one game remaining. However, should Cincinnati State win, they would clinch the league title. The game is scheduled for Saturday in Cincinnati beginning at 1 p.m.