Grambling Edges A&M in OT, PVAM routs Bama State
Photo by Errin Schutza
GARLAND, TEXAS - Grambling State rolled out to a big early lead and held off Alabama A&M 73-68 in overtime to advance to the SWAC Tournament semifinals at the Special Events Center. The Lady Tigers (15-14), who also defeated A&M in the season finale on the road, will face the other tournament Cinderella, Alcorn State on Friday at noon.
Junior center Wymeka Randle had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead Grambling. Jasher Blocker and Savannah Carter each finished with 11 points, while Tonishea Mack tallied 10 points. Blocker also had nine rebounds, while Mack grabbed eight.
Senior guard Whiquitta Tobar led A&M with 21 points and nine rebounds in her final game. Guard Shundray Davis added 19 points for the Lady Bulldogs who ended the season at 17-12. Jasmine Sanders and Nadra Robertson both had double-digit rebounds. Sanders had 13 to go with eight points, while Robertson pulled down 10. She also had eight points.
A&M started the game shooting under 25% from the field, missing 10 of their first 13 shots. Meanwhile, Grambling jumped out to a 15-4 lead. Although the Lady Bulldogs began to pick up the pace on offense a bit, Grambling's lead ballooned to 18 points late in the half. Grambling guard Markisha Patterson buried a 3-pointer with 2:01 left to give the Lady Tigers their largest lead of the half at 33-15. GSU took a 37-22 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
A&M shot only 28% in the first half, knocking down only 9-of-32 fieldgoals, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Grambling hit 13-of-30 shots for 43.3% in the first 20 minutes, including 4-of-7 from downtown.
The Lady Bulldogs came out of the gates firing early in the second half, outscoring GSU 14-1 over the first five minutes to chop the Lady Tiger lead down to a bucket at 38-36 with 15:07 left in the game.
It seemed as though the shoe was on the other foot as Grambling missed 13 of their first 15 shots. However, the Lady Tigers withstood the A&M surge and held on to the lead, going back up 52-42 with 8:44 left after a 3-pointer by Carter. The Lady Bulldogs didn't go away, battling back to pull within four with 4:40 left. Davis knocked down a 3-pointer from deep in the corner to cut the Grambling lead to 56-52.
Later after a steal by Tobar, reserve guard Nesfayia Watkins drilled a wide-open 3-pointer to tie the game at 59-all with 1:14 left.
With a chance to take the lead, Tobar dribbled the ball off her shoe and couldn't recover it. Carter picked up the loose ball and took it the distance, rolling in the go-ahead layup with 15 seconds left. The Lady Bulldogs tied the game at 61-61 with five seconds left on a putback by Robinson.
Grambling had a chance to win the game, but Carter's final shot was off the mark, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Grambling got it done from the freethrow line, hitting 8-of-10 attempts. Meanwhile, freethrows killed A&M as they went to the line six times and made only two.
Despite the trouble at the charity stripe, A&M had a chance. Davis hit a 3-pointer to make it 69-66 with 41 seconds left. But, a layup by Blocker and freethrows by Sanders and Brittany Allen put the game out of reach.
#5 Prairie View A&M (14-15) 62, #4 Alabama State (14-13) 35
Prairie View A&M overcame a slow start to roll past Alabama State. Next up for the Lady Panthers is top seed Mississippi Valley State in the semifinals on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Junior guard Latia Williams paced PVAM with 17 points and 13 rebounds. JaQuandria Williams added 13 points and eight rebounds, while Larissa Scott tallied 11 points and 13 rebounds and LaReahn Washington dropped in 10 points.
Senior forward Millicent Jones and freshman guard Jasmine Settles each finished with six points to lead Alabama State.
Prairie View led 20-17 after a low-scoring first half that saw both teams shoot less than 30% from the field. The Lady Panthers made 8-of-28 shots (28.6), while Alabama State hit only 6-of-26 fieldgoals (23.1%).
PVAM came out firing in second half, hitting five of their first seven shots and stretching their lead out to 31-19 with 15:28 left. The Lady Panthers ran away and hid after that, outscoring the Lady Hornets 42-18 in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Upcoming Tournament Schedule
Fri. 3/9 (Semifinals on SWAC-TV)
Grambling State vs. Alcorn State, 12:00 p.m.
Mississippi Valley vs. Alabama State/Prairie View A&M, 5:30 p.m.
Sat. 3/10 (Championship Game)
5:00 p.m. Live on ESPNU