BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite having only eight players, Texas Southern women’s basketball put forth a solid effort for nearly the entire contest until a late run by Southern in the fourth quarter created a hill too high to climb as TSU dropped its SWAC opener 70-60 on Monday night.
The odds were against TSU early with only eight players available compared to a full roster from SU. However, the first quarter started out evenly as TSU overcame a rebounding disadvantage on the offensive end (7-1) as they trailed 13-12. Fueled by seven turnovers from TSU, Southern would open the second quarter on an 11-0 run to extend its lead to 24-12. Despite the early setback, the Tigers clamped down on the defensive end over the final 3:55 as they held Southern to 1-of-9 shooting while forcing three turnovers. On the offensive end, Shalexxus Aaron and Niya Mitchell combined to score 11 of the next 14 points as they willed TSU back into the contest en route to a 29-26 deficit at the break.
Southern opened the second half red hot as they outscored TSU 16-7 behind the strength of 6-of-9 shooting from the field for a 45-33 lead. However, TSU refused to back down and was nearly flawless (3-of-4) from the field over the final three minutes while holding Southern to only two field goals as they trailed 51-42 entering the final stanza.
Even though there were several members in foul trouble, the Tigers clawed their way back into the game as the fourth quarter began after a 13-6 run closed the gap to 57-55 after Ataiya Bridges’ layup at the 5:54 mark. TSU had prime opportunities to lead or tie the game from that point but committed three costly turnovers in a row. Southern also struggled from the field with four straight missed shots but Amani McWain scored off an offensive rebound to move its lead to 59-55 with 3:39 remaining. From there, depth would take over as SU went on a 11-2 run over the next 2:52 to put the game away.
Aaron led TSU with 17 points, six rebounds and two blocks while Bridges added 13 points and five boards. Andriana Avent scored 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds and three steals followed by Mitchell’s nine points and 12 rebounds.
TSU is back in action at Grambling State on Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m.