OKLAHOMA CITY – Two local players will join their teammates on the Oklahoma City University women’s basketball team at the 2019 NAIA Division I national tournament that tips off today and runs through March 19 at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings, Montana.
The OCU roster includes sophomore Payton Taylor, a graduate of Ada High School, and freshman Jordyn Eaton, a Byng High School product.
Taylor has started 32 games for the Stars and is averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. She’s sunk 22 3-point baskets and had 12 blocked shots. Taylor scored a season-high 18 points against SW Assemblies of God on Jan. 19.
Eaton has appeared in 23 games for OCU and is averaging 1.5 points per game, has sunk four 3-point shots and is a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
The 10th-ranked Stars (29-4) are eyeing their 10th national championship. They will battle Arizona Christian at 10:45 p.m. Thursday in a first-round matchup.
Oklahoma City is a No. 3 seed in the Duer Bracket. OCU won its last NAIA crown in 2017.
The Stars secured an NAIA Division I Tournament berth for the 22nd year in a row and 25th time overall by capturing its 19th Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championship. The Stars have won or shared the SAC regular-season crown the past three years and nine of the past 10.
OCU notched its 20th 25-win season in 21 years with its 88-42 win over Panhandle State on Feb. 14 in Goodwell. The Stars stand one win shy of their 13th 30-win season
The Stars boast of six all-SAC performers. Abby Selzer, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Thomas, took first-team all-conference and SAC freshman of the year. Selzer has produced 17.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.12 blocked shots a game. She leads the the NAIA with a 65 percent field-goal percentage.
Taylor LaCour and Mallory Lockhart of OCU were third-team all-league, while Taylor Sylvester and Payton Taylor became honorable-mention all-SAC.
Veteran head coach Bo Overton — an Ada High graduate — garnered the John Hudson SAC coach of the year title .
OCU has allowed the lowest field-goal percentage in the NAIA at 28.8 percent.
Arizona Christian enters the tournament at No. 21 in the ratings and qualified as an at-large entry. Three-time all-Golden State Athletic Conference honoree Courtney Christmas spearheads the Firestorm (21-11). Christmas, a 5-11 senior, leads the NAIA in scoring and provides Arizona Christian with 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.13 steals and 2.56 blocks a contest.
ESPN3 will show the NAIA Division I women’s basketball tournament championship game live at 8 p.m. March 19.