LORMAN, Miss. – Alcorn women’s basketball shrugged off a slow start Tuesday afternoon as the Braves won their third consecutive home game in defeating visiting Central Arkansas, 45-41 at the Davey L. Whitney Complex.
Central Arkansas (4-3) ran out to a quick 5-0 lead to start, holding the Braves scoreless through the first four minutes of the game.
Alcorn (3-4) got on the board midway through the opening quarter courtesy a three-pointer from Nia McCalphia. An Ashanti Backus three-pointer from the wing followed soon after to cut into the Sugar Bears lead, 7-6, before a 3-0 run by Central Arkansas – highlighted by a jumper from Randrea Wright, allowed the visitors a 10-7 lead at the end of the quarter.
A Wright jumper combined with a Kyjai Miles made basket just outside the paint pushed the Sugar Bears lead to 14-9 with 7:27 remaining in the opening half.
Alcorn would take its first lead of the game on the heels of a 7-1 run started by T’Naye Griffin’s layup (two of her three points in the contest), followed by Tyginae Wright’s jumper and a three-pointer from Kailyn Watkins to put the Braves ahead 16-15 with 4:57 showing on the clock. Wright, who finished the game with a game-high two (2) three-pointers, connected on her first long-range effort of the night less than a minute later to extend the Purple and Gold advantage, 19-15.
Alcorn would hold a 20-16 edge at the break, as the Braves outscored the Sugar Bears by a 13-8 count in the second stanza.
The Braves held Central Arkansas to 30 percent shooting from the field in the second quarter while firing at a 45.5 percent clip from the field themselves.
Alcorn would continue a hot shooting touch in the third quarter, using a 55.6 percent average from the floor throughout the period.
Back-to-back free throws from UCA junior forward Kierra Prim allowed was followed by a jumper from the baseline by Miles off a Braves turnover to put the Sugar Bears on top, 23-20 just two minutes into the second half.
But once again, Alcorn had an answer for the Central Arkansas run.
Destiny Brown tallied four of her 10 points on the afternoon during a 9-1 Braves run over the course of the next three minutes – added a Cayla Obillo jumper followed by Wright’s second three-pointer of the game, to put the hosts up 29-24 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Obillo would register her only three-pointer of the game with 1:07 left in the period to give Alcorn a 33-28 lead as the teams entered into the final quarter of play.
Throughout the fourth quarter, the two teams traded the lead three times during the first five minutes.
A quick 4-0 spurt by the Sugar Bears, thanks in part to Prim and Wright – which included a fast break layup from the latter, put Central Arkansas on top, 34-33 with 7:09 remaining. Counter to that, a layup from Alcorn’s Brown was followed in quick succession by an Obillo jumper from the elbow to give the hosts a 37-34 lead with 4:43 showing on the clock.
Another fast break opportunity from UCA’s Wright followed a Parris Atkins made field goal just outside the paint to give the Sugar Bears the 38-37 edge a minute later.
But it would be Brown driving to the hole for the layup to give Alcorn the lead for good at 40-38 with 2:19 remaining. McCalphia’s pair of made free throws would extend the lead at 42-38 before Kayla Mitchell grabbed the offensive board and scored the putback with 12 seconds left to bring Central Arkansas to within 43-41.
In the end, two free throws from Wright, adding to her game-high 12 points, sealed the win for the Braves.
For the game, the Purple and Gold shot 6-for-18 from beyond the arc connecting on 33.3 percent overall from three-point range.
Despite Central Arkansas outscoring the Braves 13-12 in the final period, Alcorn would sink six free throws in the quarter to cement the win for Head Coach Nate Kilbert’s side.