The No. 2-seed Texas Southern women’s basketball team defeated the No. 7 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions 77-46 Tuesday night in a quarterfinal matchup of the 2020 Cricket Wireless SWAC Championship at the H&PE Arena.
Ataiya Bridges scored a game-high 19 points to lead four TSU players in double-digit scoring.
UAPB scored the first two points of the game and led 4-2 when TSU’s Niya Mitchell tied the game with a layup. Then, Bridges made a three-point shot to put the Tigers ahead 7-4. UAPB’s Aiya El Hassan sank a jumper to cut the Tigers’ lead to 7-6 but TSU went on a 7-0 run to increase its lead to 14-6 before Pine Bluff responded with a 9-2 run to trim the Tigers’ lead to 16-15 with 3:45 left in the opening quarter.
TSU led 18-17 after the first quarter.
UAPB tied the game at 18 to open the second quarter but four different Tigers scored during a 9-0 burst for a 27-18 lead. Ciani Cryor sank a jumper to begin the run and Richelle Velez drilled a three-pointer to cap the run.
The Golden Lions answered with another 9-2 run which trimmed the Tigers’ margin to 29-27 with 3:37 remaining in the opening half. Tamaria White and Velez scored layups to increase TSU’s lead to 33-27 as TSU took a 36-31 lead into halftime. The Tigers made 16-of-40 field goal attempts in the half while UAPB made 11-of-32 shot attempts.
Defense was the word in the second half. Bridges had three of the Tigers’ five steals in the first 5:41 of the third quarter which the Tigers’ turned into points in transition. TSU turned defense into offense and outscored UAPB 15-2 to lead 51-33 with 3:28 remaining in the quarter. The Tigers outscored the Golden Lions 14-2 in points off turnovers in the third quarter and led 58-37 after three quarters. UAPB made 1-of-10 field goal attempts in the third quarter and committed 12 turnovers.
Bridges scored 8 of her 19 points in the final quarter. The Tigers held UAPB to 2-for-13 field goal shooting and forced seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers outscored the Golden Lions 41-15 in the second half and limited UAPB to 3-for-23 field goal shooting. UAPB committed 19 of its 30 turnovers in the second half.
Mitchell posted her 17th double-double this season. She finished the game with 17 points, 17 rebounds and 6 steals. Cryor added 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists. Velez scored 13 points.
Noe’ll Taylor scored 11 points to lead Pine Bluff.
Texas Southern will face No. 3 Southern in a semifinal matchup of the 2020 Cricket Wireless SWAC Championship this Friday, March 13, in Birmingham, Ala. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. TSU and Southern split their two regular-season meetings as both teams defended their home courts.