GARLAND, Texas – The Prairie View A&M Lady Panther women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinal round of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament defeating Jackson State 56-40 on Wednesday morning in the opening day of the conference tournament at the Special Events Center.
“I think the girls came out strong,” said head coach Toyelle Wilson. “Our girls made shots, we made stops, and in the end we came away with the win. I think the girls understand the pressure as we must continue to be the attacker and not the victim.”
With nerves running high, both squads were unable to find their touch after shooting a combined 0-of-5 from the field to kick off the contest. After settling down, the Lady Panthers struck first behind a 9-4 spurt as the PV trio of Robin Jones, Siarra Soliz and Dominique Smith accounted for buckets during the opening run.
In a tight race, both squads went toe-to-toe as they traded baskets over a span of eight minutes as the Lady Panthers held a slight margin at 19-15 in the closing 4:51 of the half with Soliz knocking down an elbow jumper to bump the lead to four. Minutes later, guard Ayanna Hardy-Fueller converted a slashing drive to the basket to draw within two points at 19-17 which gave the Lady Tigers an opportunity to hang around for the upset.
However, the Lady Panthers countered right before the halftime break as they possessed the upper hand by scoring the final three points of the period which pushed the lead to 22-17 after Latia Williams’ nailed a mid-range jumper.
The Lady Panthers came out the halftime tunnel owning the early portion of the period which was triggered by a three-point play from Jones as the Waco, Texas native hit a free-throw after getting fouled on a put-back layup. Prairie View added to their margin behind the strength of a 7-0 flurry en route to a double-digit cushion at 29-18.
Showing signs of interior dominance, Jones clogged the paint by recording a block on a three-point try from Beatrice Banks which sent the attempt into the stands. Despite Jones’ block, Jackson State was able to dig themselves out of the hole by countering with a 7-2 run which cut the margin to single digits at 33-25 as the clock read 12:15.
Jackson State continued to hang around over a span of three minutes and cut PV’s 10-point cushion to five at 39-34 with 7:51 remaining.
As they’ve done all year, the Lady Panthers responded defensively by holding JSU scoreless over the final seven minutes as the lead inflated back to 12 points via a 7-0 spurt which was fueled by four points from Soliz. Jackson State watched the contest slip away after the run as PV went 7-of-7 from the charity stripe to put JSU away.
Dominique Smith led the way for the Lady Panthers with 17 points and three rebounds. Soliz followed with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Jones added a double-double performance scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
With the win, Prairie View continues to make strides towards their championship goals as they’ll battle No. 3 seed Alcorn State or No. 6 seed Grambling State University on Friday at noon in the semifinal round.