GRAMBLING, La. — (SWAC) Monisha Neal scored 22 points as top-seeded Grambling State shook off a slow start to defeat no. 8 seed Mississippi Valley State 71-61 at the Hobdy Assembly Center to advance to the semifinal round.

Down 11-9 at the end of one, Grambling (17-13) opened the second quarter on an 11-4 run to take a 20-15 advantage. The Devilettes hung tough throughout as they trailed by no more than four through the remainder of the half.

After a three-point play by Kenya Hailey brought MVSU within one, Grambling pushed its lead to 10 in the third, but the Devilettes clawed back into it, closing the quarter on a 10-4 run. GSU opened the fourth with baskets from Shakyla Hill and Bre’Nae Andrews and eventually posted a 60-51 lead, but MVSU again fought back, as the Devilettes scored eight unanswered — capped by baskets from Stormy Green and Ashley Beals to get within one. Hill and Neal were the difference down the stretch, as they scored 10 of the Lady Tigers’ final 11 points.

Hill ended the night with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Beals posted 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Mississippi Valley (10-20).

Grambling will now face 4-seed Southern in the semifinals.


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