HOUSTON – (SWAC) Top-seeded Grambling State punched its ticket to the SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament final, gutting out a 65-56 victory over No. 4 seed Southern.
The Lady Tigers trailed all game, as Southern (14-14) led by as many as 14 at one point. However, Grambling turned its fortunes around in the third quarter, as Southern endured a frigid stretch from the floor that spanned into the fourth. The Jaguars – who led by 12 early in the third – went 11-plus minutes without a made field goal.
During that, Grambling (18-13) made its move with a 10-2 run during a seven-minute stretch where the Jaguars failed to hit a shot from the floor, reducing Southern’s lead from 12 to four at one point. GSU continued its comeback in the fourth, scoring seven unanswered points to claim its first lead of the game with 6:17 left.
A Miaya Crowder three-point play put Southern ahead 48-47 with 5:12 left, but Jazmin Boyd responded with a three-ball to put GSU back in front. With things knotted at 52, Boyd and Chantiara Lewis drained back-to-back threes, ultimately keying what was a game-deciding 13-4 run to close the game.
After a sluggish start where both sides were scoreless for the first 2:45 of the game, Southern (14-16) began opening things up, posting a 7-1 run. However, Shakyla Hill was on-target early, netting 10 of her 17 points in the quarter.
The second quarter was much like the first, as Southern opened on a 9-1 run, ultimately pushing its advantage to 11. The Jaguars managed to force Grambling to a 33.3 shooting percentage in the half and dominated the glass – 29-10 – on their way to a 34-25 halftime advantage.
Hill added five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Monisha Neal added 14 points and five rebounds, and Jazmin Boyd chipped in 15 points and five assists.Crowder led Southern with 23 points and 14 rebounds.