Women's Basketball

Third Quarter Run Moves Grambling State Past Women’s Basketball

Micah Gray’s 30 points and an 11-point lead midway through the second quarter would be all for naught as the Texas Southern University women’s basketball team remained winless after dropping a 76-69 decision at home to Grambling State University.

In the previous 11 seasons, a total of just three student-athletes on the women’s basketball team had scored 30 or more points. In just 13 games this season, TSU has garnered two 30-plus point outings in just 13 games this season with both being from the hands of Gray and both being within the last three games.

TSU (0-13, 0-2 SWAC) jumped out to a 12-3 lead to start the game thanks to five points each from Gray and Taniya Lawson as well as a jumper from Kamryn Bates.

The visiting fans that made their way to the H&PE Arena on Wednesday night have just one player from Grambling State (3-10, 2-0 SWAC) to thank for keeping the score close in the first quarter or else TSU would have run away with an easy victory. That one player from GSU is Colbi Maples, who put up an astonishing 13 points in the first quarter. Maples’ teammates atoned for just three points for the entire first stanza as TSU led 21-16.

Zyan Reynolds’ layup that was assisted by Lawson with 4:55 left in the opening half gave TSU what would be its largest lead of the game at 11 points with the score being 31-20. Just 2:26 later and another barrage of points from Maples, the score would then be 31-30 in favor of TSU. Maples added eight points to her tally during the run. Lawson’s successful long-range shot broke the scoring drought by the scoring Tigers before Alisa Knight and Andriana Avent both drained a pair of free throws as TSU led 38-36 at the halftime intermission.

The third quarter, however, Gray drained yet another three with 7:11 to go in the stanza for a 49-41 lead before the bottom would fall out as Grambling State went on a 15-0 run to take a 56-49 lead. It wasn’t until Jaida Belton’s  layup that was assisted by Lawson at the 1:05 mark left in the third quarter that TSU would score again. Maples would eventually finish out the third quarter with a buzzer-beating make just inside the right wing to give Grambling a 64-55 heading into the fourth quarter.

TSU would battle back through a poor shooting night from both teams and cut the deficit down to 67-64 when Gray drained a pair of free throws with 3:49 to go. After Belton and Avent made shots to open the fourth quarter, Gray scored the remaining 10 points as she had no help on offense. Grambling State used clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to preserve the victory and stay undefeated in SWAC play.

Maples was one of three Grambling State players in double figures and would finish with a game-high 32 points on 13-for-26 shooting from the field and 3-for-10 from long range and 3-of-5 from the free throw line.

Lawson (14) and Avent (10) would find themselves in double figures along with Gray while others are slowly starting to come out of their shell now that the Tigers are in SWAC play including Bates who dished out a single game best among any TSU players with six assists as the Tigers will need a point guard to run the offense and know when to pick up the pace to gas out the opponent.

It is little growing pains like that that can be very frustrating, but once figured out then the fruits of the labor, such as wins, can be enjoyed. The play of Belton on the block both offensively and defensively also needs to be highlighted as she has become a bone fide monster on the boards as of late including a career-best 13 rebounds. In her short time as a Tiger, the freshman has produced five of the eight top single-game rebounding performances this season with four games recording eight each.
The Tigers will now recuperate and set their sights on their first SWAC road trip of the season as they head to Pine Bluff, Ark., to take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 12:30 p.m. CST.

Courtesy: TSUSports.com


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