Savannah State garnered its first Division I win against a Southeastern Conference opponent Thursday night as the Lady Tigers defeated the Florida Gators, 68-58.
SSU ties the overall series with Florida at two wins apiece and improves to 4-1 on the season, and 3-0 in Tiger Arena. Florida suffers only their second loss of the season, as they fall to 5-2.
Four Lady Tigers ended in double-digits in the win. Redshirt senior Ezinne Kalu, who played 39 of the 40 minutes, led the field with 21 points, followed by Jasmine Norman with 15. Bria Dorsey added 14 and Tiyonda Davis tacked on 10.
Cassie Peoples drained a 3-pointer at the 17:08 mark of the opening half to life the Gators to a 5-4 lead, Kalu responded in kind a few seconds later.
In the following three minutes, Kalu scored 11 unanswered points, including three 3-pointers, to lift SSU to a 15-5 lead with 14:30 to play.
The Gators broke their scoring drought at the 12:51 mark with two good free-throws from Ronnie Williams. Two minutes later Carlie Needles drained a 3-pointer and Kayla Lewis sank a jump shot to cut SSU’s lead to 17-14.
Dorsey scored on a short jumper and Kalu hit another 3-pointer to push the Lady Tigers lead to 22-14 a few moments later. Kalu went 4-for-5 from the beyond the arch on the night.
Two minutes later, Florida was back in it after a 6-0 run, capped by two good free-throws from Needles. At the 3:46 mark, Antoinette Bannister hit a 3-pointer to lift Florida to a 25-24 lead.
The Lady Tigers responded with points from Davis and Kalu for a 28-25 lead. Bannister again hit a 3-pointer to tie the game up at 28 with 1:41 to the half.
With 57 seconds to play in the opening half, Kenyata Hendrix sent the Lady Tigers into the locker room up 31-28 after an old-fashioned 3-point play.
Dorsey and Davis opened the second half with layups to lift SSU to a 35-30 lead out of the gate. At the 15:33 mark, Dorsey added another field goal in the paint, giving SSU a 42-33 lead.
Despite some flares in the offense from Florida, the final 15 minutes of the game were all Savannah State as the Lady Tigers held at least a six point lead in the remaining minutes.
Norman drained two free-throws with 4:06 to play, giving the Lady Tigers their largest lead of the night, 61-45.
The Gators were led by Peoples with 15 points. Lewis followed with 12 and Williams tacked on 10.
SSU shot 45.8 percent from the floor, while Florida shot at a 41.0 percent clip. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the free-throw line.