HOUSTON – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University claimed a season sweep of Prairie View A&M after defeating the Lady Panthers 73-67 Saturday.
Olivia Cunningham scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting to lead four Lady Tigers scoring in double-figures. Richelle Velez added 16 points; she was 3-of-9 from 3-point range.
The Lady Tigers (10-11) improved to 6-4 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play with the victory.
TSU’s Marquia Turner returned to the lineup after a three-game absence; she came off the bench to score 15 points. Catherine Okwilagwe chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds off the TSU bench.
Prairie View A&M (10-10, 7-3 SWAC) was led by Shala Dobbins, who scored 26 points for the Panthers.
The Lady Tigers trailed for most of the first half, and were down by as many as nine points in the first and second quarters. However, they chipped away at the lead in the second quarter, and scored the last six points of the period to take a 33-32 lead. Cunningham scored 13 of her 19 points in the second period.
After PVAMU opened the second half with a 3-pointer to briefly reclaim the lead, the Lady Tigers responded with nine unanswered points between the 9:03 and 6:02 marks of the third period to take a 42-35 lead. Velez scored five points during the run.
Texas Southern stretched its lead to 12 points with a 7-0 run to start to the fourth quarter. Velez scored another five points during the run, while Niya Mitchell capped the run with a layup with 7:30 remaining on the clock.
Prairie View A&M responded with a 13-3 of its own to cut the lead 62-60 with 3:34 left to play. But before PV could tie, Cunningham knocked down jumpers on two out of three possessions to bring the lead back up to six.
The Lady Tigers were protecting a six-point lead in the final minute when Dobbins picked up a second technical foul on top of a personal foul, giving TSU’s Alaysia Ready four consecutive free throws. She made two of them, and TSU was able to finish the game at the free throw line.
Mitchell finished the game with nine points and 10 rebounds for TSU.
The Lady Tigers return to action Saturday when they visit Grambling State to open a two-game road trip. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.