BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — There will be no glass slipper and no repeating as Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) women’s basketball champions for Grambling State University as the Lady Tigers could not rally from a 10-point halftime deficit in a 71-69 defeat to Southern University on Friday afternoon in the SWAC semifinals at Bill Harris Arena.
Southern (19-12), the tournament’s top seed and regular season champions, advance to Saturday’s title game and will meet either Jackson State or Prairie View A&M. Grambling State concludes the season with a 16-16 overall record.
Grambling State fell behind by six early in the first quarter, but trailed 16-15. The Lady Tigers went through a six-minute stretch during the second quarter without a bucket and the Jaguars took advantage, taking a 37-27 lead into the break. The Lady Tigers rallied in the third to tie the game at 43, but Southern outscored GSU over the final 3:46, 8-4, to take a 51-47 advantage into the final period.
Shakyla Hill led all scorers with 21 points, on 6-of-12 shooting and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line. She finished just one rebound shy of a triple-double with 11 assists, nine boards, five steals, and one block. Ariel Williams added nine points, while Takerra Parsons registered eight points and seven boards, along with two steals, one block, and one assist.
Skylar O’Bear paced Southern with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, four rebounds, and two assists. Alyric Scott finished with 13 points, with four 3-pointers, while Brittany Rose added 12 points. Taneara Moore led the way on the glass with a game-high 14 rebounds.
How It Happened
Grambling State trailed, 12-6, after a 3-pointer by Jaden Towner with 4:02 left, but the Lady Tigers chipped away at the deficit and cut the margin to 16-15 after two free throws by Shakyla Hill with 1:12 remaining.
GSU took its first lead of the day on a layup by Hill with 9:39 left in the second quarter. However, Southern responded with a 12-4 run over the next six minutes, capped by a free throw by Alyric Scott to push the Jaguars advantage to 28-19.
A three-point play by Hill ended Southern’s run and a free throw by Mylashia Yancey cut the Jaguar lead to 28-23 with 3:20 remaining in the first half.
Southern extended the advantage to 35-27 with 1:08 left and took a 37-27 lead into the break.
Grambling State cut the double-digit deficit to five points, 43-41, after a Camry London 3-pointer with 4:24 left in the third. A jumper by Justice Coleman tied the game at 43 with 3:46 remaining.
Southern closed out the third strong, outscoring Grambling State, 8-4, to take a 51-47 lead into the final period.
The Jaguars extended the advantage to 56-49 after a 3-pointer by Scott with 8:37 left, but Grambling State closed the gap to 60-59 with 4:31 remaining after a Hill free throw.
A Skylar O’Bear 3-pointer with 1:49 remaining gave Southern a 68-63 lead and Grambling State could not recover down the stretch.
Six minutes was all it took for Grambling State to go cold from the field and for Southern to take full advantage.
A bucket by Shakyla Hill with 9:39 left in the second period gave the Lady Tigers a slim, 17-16, lead. But for the next six minutes, Grambling State went cold from the floor and Southern capitalized with a 12-4 run.
In addition to a six-minute stretch in the second period, the Lady Tigers went the final 2:51 without a bucket to allow Southern to build a 10-point halftime lead.
Despite Grambling State rallying to the tie the game at 43 in the third quarter, Southern used a 13-6 run over the next five minutes and Grambling State could not recover.
Courtesy: GSU Athletics