PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Two days after a nailbiter in Mississippi, the TSU women’s basketball team made sure to avoid a repeat as they took control of the contest early on and dominated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77-46 Monday evening.
Niya Mitchell scored a layup to begin the scoring. Breasia McElrath followed with a layup and the Tigers were off and running as they scored the first nine points of the game. Pine Bluff did not score until Noe’ll Taylor‘s two free throws at the 6:12 mark of the opening quarter but TSU didn’t flinch as they pushed its lead to 21-9 before UAPB added three free throws to close out the quarter for a 21-12 lead. TSU’s Jekalen Jones, a native of nearby Little Rock, Ark., scored a team-high 8 points in the first period.
As a team, TSU shot 50.0 percent (9-for-18) in the quarter while limiting the Golden Lions to 21.4 percent (3-for -14) field goal shooting.
Mitchell scored the first four points in the second quarter and ignited a 12-4 burst to lead 34-16 with 3:49 remaining in the quarter. Pine Bluff scored four in a row to gain some momentum but the Tigers finished the quarter with a 7-2 run to lead 41-22 at halftime.
The Tigers made 18-of-34 field goals in the half (52.9%) while the Golden Lions shot 8-for-23 (34.8%). TSU’s defense also forced UAPB to commit 16 turnovers in the first half.
Mitchell, once again, scored a layup to begin the scoring in the third quarter. The Tigers led 46-27 when Mitchell scored another layup for her 17th point in the game. Richelle Velez got in on the act as she made her second three-point shot of the quarter to increase TSU’s lead to 51-27 with 6:35 on the game clock. Ciani Cryor stretched the Tigers’ lead to 56-27 with a pair of free throws and a three-point basket as TSU led UAPB 61-37 after three quarters.
Mitchell scored the first points of the fourth quarter — this time she made two foul shots instead of scoring a layup. The Tigers cooled off slightly in the fourth quarter and made just 5-of-13 field goal attempts. However, the Tigers led by as much as 33 (77-44) in the quarter while Pine Bluff missed 9-of-10 free throws in the final period.
The Tigers forced the Golden Lions into 26 turnovers which the Tigers converted into an astounding 32 points. TSU also outscored UAPB 48-34 in the paint.
The Tigers improved to 11-3 in SWAC play and 16-9 overall. Mitchell posted her 13th double-double this season with 25 points and 14 rebounds and was near perfect from field as she made 11 of her 12 field goal attempts. Cryor filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 8 assists, 6 steals, and 4 rebounds. Ataiya Bridges added 10 points, 4 steals, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds.
Jayla Atmore scored 18 points to lead UAPB.
The Tigers return home to face Alabama A&M this Saturday, Feb. 29, at 5:30 p.m. inside H&PE Arena.