GARLAND, Texas – Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coach Nate Kilbert drew up a gameplan Thursday to stop his alma mater, Mississippi Valley State, in the semifinals of the SWAC Tournament. The plan was to play off of A’Shanti Weathers and keep the focus on MVSU’s key scorers.
That apparently wasn’t a good idea.
The sophomore forward scored a career-high 20 points – all in the second half – Friday to lead the Devilettes to Saturday’s SWAC Tournament championship game, which is set for noon at the Curtis Culwell Center, after a 69-55 win over UAPB.
Weathers made 8 of 16 shots, including four 3-pointers, despite going 0-for-7 in the first half.
“My teammates pushed me through it,” said Weathers. “I couldn’t get past it without them.”
The win was revenge for Valley after falling to the Lady Lions in the final regular season game of the year. And it was an emotional win over its former head coach.
“In our last home game, they beat us, so this had to be done,” Weathers said.
The win gives the Devilettes a shot at winning a SWAC Tournament championship for the first time since 1993. MVSU will face either Texas Southern or Prairie View in the Saturday’s game.
Valley won despite being out-rebounded 48 to 32. The Devilettes, however, forced 29 UAPB turnovers.
“Most of the time when you’re beat on the boards like that, it’s a bad situation,” said Robinson. “But their 29 turnovers helped a lot. We turned them over so much that the out-rebounding didn’t become a factor.”
Joncyee Sanders filled up the box score for the second straight game with 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds with a pair of blocks and steals. Khristina Clemons added 10 points while Lenise Stallings chipped in nine points on three 3-pointers.
Chigoziany Okwumabua led UAPB with 19 points while Lakendra Marsh added 17.
Now, all the Devilettes have to do is take care of business Saturday and they’ll be able to stop a 20-year SWAC Tournament title drought.
“One-game scenario, everything on the line….We got it,” said Robinson.
The championship game will be shown on ESPNU on tape-delay at 8 a.m. Sunday.