ALCORN STATE, Miss. – Behind freshman guard Siarra Soliz’s 16-point effort, the Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers ran past Alcorn State 49-44 in the opening day of Southwestern Athletic Conference play on Tuesday evening at the Davey Whitney Complex.
Senior Robin Jones got the ball rolling for the Lady Panthers as she converted on a baseline jumper which ignited a 16-2 run that gave Prairie View the early advantage with 10:55 to play in the half. However, the Lady Braves crawled back into the contest using an 8-3 run to cut the deficit to 19-10 as forward Tiffany Stewart knocked down a 10-foot jumper of her own which put Prairie View on its heels.
Minutes later, Soliz answered the Alcorn State run with a trey from behind the arc pushing the margin back up to double digits at the 4:52 mark. Prairie View would turn up the defensive pressure in the closing four minutes of the half holding Alcorn State without a basket as the Lady Panthers ended the half ahead 28-14.
The Lady Panthers had a sluggish start to open the second half as the Lady Braves forced two early turnovers that led to a quick run and a 10-point deficit during the first three minutes of action. The Lady Braves closed to within nine before Prairie View found their spark off the bench as sophomore Sharde Henry accounted for four points during a 7-0 run which gave Prairie View its largest lead of the contest at 18 points (41-23).
Refusing to back down, Alcorn State didn’t go away without a fight as they hung around with just under two minutes remaining in the contest using a 13-2 run to come within seven points at 49-42. With four seconds left on the clock, the Lady Braves forced back-to-back turnovers and closed to within five (49-44) as point guard Kiarra Ruffin scored on a penetrating drive to the basket. However, it was too little too late as Prairie View avenged last year’s regular season finale as they improved to 5-7 on the season and 1-0 in conference.
Dominique Smith followed Soliz with 12 points, four rebounds and one steal. Fellow senior Robin Jones accounted for seven points and pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
The Lady Panthers return to action on Thursday, Jan. 6 as they’ll square off in an early season showdown versus Southern University at 5:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge, La. Both teams were picked to finish 1-2 in the preseason conference standings.