Texas Southern led virtually wire-to-wire throughout the game over Pine Bluff, save for when they were behind 2-0 in the first minutes of the first quarter. Besides the sporadic start, Texas Southern quickly regained the lead back two baskets later. There were brief instances during the contest where Pine Bluff would chip away at TSU’s deficit as they managed to tie the score roughly two minutes into the third quarter at 41-all. However, TSU would respond when needed and make a big play to squash UAPB’s momentum.
TSU would display a resilient mettle and poise as they weathered through Pine Bluff’s multiple rallies and sealed the game for their favor. TSU was ahead 69-66 with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter when Jenay Bojorquez was fouled and directed to the free throw line. After making both shots, a critical defensive effort by Britnee Gabriel prohibited Pine Bluff’s Maya Peat from having a clean look for a jumper and forced her to make a difficult heave from inside of the paint.
Upon receiving the ball on an inbound, Ataiya Bridges drove to the basket and drew two Pine Bluff defenders, thus creating space for Te’Aire Hambrick’s uncontested layup to make it a 73-66 game. After a five-second violation by Pine Bluff with 20 seconds left – Bridges sealed the contest with two free throws.
TSU’s victory was courtesy of a career-best performance by Bridges. The senior scored 29 points on 12/20 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds with four assists and three steals. She was supported by a benchmark performance from fellow backcourt member Jenay Bojorquez and her 16 points, a season-best nine rebounds, six assists and one blocked shot. Hambrick scored nine points along with grabbing five rebounds with five steals.
Altogether, TSU grabbed 47 rebounds over UAPB, matching the previous season-high set on Dec. 5, 2020 against UTRGV. Of the total, the team snatched 31 defensive rebounds, a new season high. They also tied its season-high in free throws made with 16, achieved from the same encounter.
The women’s team will head back to the court on Saturday, Feb. 27 as they will visit Alabama State for the return game at 2 p.m. in Montgomery, Ala.