NORMAL, Ala. – Micah Gray’s three-point shot with 5:17 left in regulation gave the Texas Southern University women’s basketball team a 60-51 lead, but Alabama A&M University stormed back with an 13-4 run to force overtime where the Bulldogs would eventually take a 72-69 victory.
Down 62-60, TSU’s Skye Greene took an entry pass along the baseline to the right of the hoop and forced he way into a point-blank jumper that she knocked down tie the game with 46 seconds to go before the Tigers defense got a much-needed stop. Andriana Avent then knocked down a short, driving jumper of her own to give TSU the lead. Alabama A&M’s Amiah Simmons then delivered her team an early Easter present when she forced overtime by finishing a frantic play near the AAMU basket.
The overtime period was won at the free throw line as the Bulldogs (7-9, 5-1 SWAC) avoided the upset-minded Tigers (1-16, 1-17 SWAC) by going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe despite being 1-for-6 from the field.
TSU jumped out to an eight-point first quarter lead when Donterria Brown and Taniya Lawson combined to turn a 9-9 tie into a 17-9 Tigers lead with a pair of layups each later in the first quarter. Gray’s triple with 23 seconds left in the first period gave TSU its largest lead of the stanza at 22-12.
An entertaining but blasé second period from both teams would see the host Bulldogs use a 9-2 run to start the quarter to reduce TSU’s lead to 24-21 only to awaken the beasts within the Tigers, who answered back with an 8-2 run for a 32-23 lead. The blasé part of the second quarter was when nether team could establish a substantial footing and four points were scored in the final 3:50 of the quarter.
The first four-plus minutes of the third quarter were seemingly lived at the free throw line as 10 of the 17 points scored in a 14-3 run were via both teams combining to go 10-for-12 from the line. TSU used that 14-3 run to establish what many though was an insurmountable 46-30 lead. The 16-point advantage was the largest on the night for either squad.
Alabama A&M did not go quietly into the night and showed why they are one of the best teams in SWAC as the Bulldogs answered with a 15-2 run over the final 5:04 of the quarter to liven up the homestanding crowd. The Bulldogs went to work scoring an 11-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 2:05 mark left in regulation before Green and Avent would regain the TSU lead to set up Simmons’ opportunity to send the game into overtime.
AAMU had built up all the moment and rode that wave to victory 72-69 over TSU.
Avent led all scorers with 23 points to go along with five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Even though Micah Gray didn’t have her normal high-scoring contest, she was very active in other roles as she hauled seven rebounds, dished out five assists and collected a steal and block each. Gray did in fact surpass the 300-point plateau in her freshman season. Simmons and Toni Grace led the way for the Bulldogs with 17 points each.
TSU will remain in Alabama to conclude the road trip with a contest on Monday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in Montgomery, Ala., when they take on Alabama State University.