HOUSTON — Shakyla Hill had a near quadruple-double and Jazmin Boyd scored 19 points as Grambling State avenged last year’s 2017 tournament final loss, defeating defending champion Texas Southern 66-59 to advance to the 2018 SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game.
Boyd scored a game-high 19 points. Hill scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds — eight offensive — dished nine assists and made eight steals. Monisha Neal added 11 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Without Player of the Year Joyce Kennerson, Texas Southern (19-12) took an early advantage thanks to Isis Lane and Taylor Robinson, going up 15-11 before Grambling State turned the tide thanks to 10 first-quarter points from Boyd and pressure defense en route to a 11-0 run to close the quarter.
Texas Southern opened the second quarter on the offensive, as Chynna Ewing slashed to the lane to lay one home, and Robinson powered her way inside for close-range scores. Robinson continued to find success against the Grambling interior as Texas Southern closed to within one thanks to a 9-3 run. A Kaitlyn Palmer three-ball tied matters at 27 with 6:50 left in the half as Texas Southern had its way with Grambling on the inside to stay in control, outscoring the No. 3 seed 9-4 to close the half up 36-33.
Robinson imposed her will as the third quarter began, sinking two baskets to push Texas Southern ahead by five. After Neal answered for Grambling (18-13) on the other end, Palmer again buried a trey from the corner as Texas Southern’s lead grew to six.
Grambling State pulled to within one after Boyd sank one of two from the charity stripe, and Hill cashed-in on a fast break layup to put Grambling up 46-45 with 4:42 left. Neal, who scored nine points in the frame, then buried a trey to cap a 10-0 run and extend the Grambling advantage.
Texas Southern stormed back to within one, but both sides went cold to close the frame. With the game tied at 51, Hill strung together five quick points, and Boyd knocked down a three-ball to lift Grambling to a 59-51 lead with 5:17 left.
Texas Southern went frigid offensively, not making a field goal over the first eight minutes of the fourth until Palmer scored to make the game 60-55 with 2:02 left. However, Texas Southern would get no closer than that.
Robinson led TSU with 17 points. Palmer added 16 points, and Ewing scored 10 points with six rebounds.
Grambling will play Southern for the tournament title tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.