MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Playing the only undefeated team left in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Alcorn State University women’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with Alabama State. After the Lady Braves pulled to within five points in the second half, Alabama State was able to hold off the rally and take the 68-57 conference victory Saturday afternoon inside Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
The defense again made things tough on the opponent with Alcorn (4-6, 4-2 SWAC) forcing 26 turnovers while committing just 10. That led to a 24-11 advantage on points off turnovers. Kirdis Clark led the way with 16 points. Tyginae Wright added 12 points and Aja Wheeler had a strong all-around game with eight points, seven rebounds and three steals. Both teams made 24 field goals and Alcorn held a slight 5-4 edge on three-pointers. Where Alabama State (4-0, 4-0 SWAC) made up ground was a 16-4 edge at the foul line.
Diamond Hall opened the scoring over a minute in on a layup. A three-pointer from Clark kept Alcorn in front at 5-4. The lead stretched out to three at 9-6 on a layup by Hall near the midway point of the first quarter. With the game tied at 11, the Lady Hornets would reel off the next nine points to move in front 20-11 late in the quarter. Quintasia Leatherwood ended the run with a layup and off an Alabama State turnover, Deja Mitchell hit a layup following her offensive rebound to leave the Lady Hornets in front by just five, 20-15, through the first 10 minutes.
The run extended into the second quarter with Wheeler hitting a jumper a minute in to trim the deficit to three. Alabama State had the lead back as high as 10 when three-pointers from Cayla Obillo and Wright had the deficit back to four near the midway point of the second quarter. Alabama State outscored the Lady Braves by five the remainder of the half to take a 36-27 lead into the break.
Down 11 early in the second half, the Lady Braves made another push going on a 6-0 run with Obillo hitting a jumper and back-to-back layups from Mitchell and Clark had the lead down to five at 38-33. After getting the deficit back down to seven late in the third quarter, Alabama State closed the final minute-plus on a 4-0 run for the 50-39 lead entering the final 10 minutes.
Still trailing by 11, a Clark three-pointer and a layup from Wheeler helped Alcorn claw back to within six midway through the quarter, but the Lady Hornets were able to push the lead back into double-digits on their way to taking the 68-57 victory.
Alcorn went 24-69 (34.8) from the field, 5-26 (19.2) from three and 4-8 (50) from the foul line. Alabama State finished 24-51 (47.1) from the field, 4-15 (26.7) from three and 16-24 (66.7) at the foul line. A trio of players reached double-figures for the Lady Hornets with Shmya Ward leading all-scorers with 19 points. She made it a double-double with 15 rebounds. Ayana Emmanuel added 15 points and Farrah Pearson with 11 points.
With the game Monday at Alabama A&M postponed, Alcorn will now return home for a three-game homestand beginning with Southern on Saturday, January 30 at 1 p.m.