Texas Southern, Alcorn State Advance
GARLAND, TEXAS - Texas Southern and Alcorn State both advanced with wins on the opening day of the 2012 SWAC Women's Basketball tournament at the Special Events Center. With their win over Jackson State, TSU advanced to the quarterfinals to face top seed Mississippi Valley State, while Alcorn State, who eliminated Arkansas-Pine Bluff will meet Southern in the next round.
#7 Alcorn State 69, #10 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 46
Arkansas-Pine Bluff became the first casualty of the 2012 SWAC Women's Basketball tournament, bowing out in the opening game. Alcorn State advanced to the quarterfinals with a convincing win.
Kiara Ruffin led Alcorn (12-17) with 16 points. Carolinsia Crumbly added 11 points and six rebounds, while Sharnika Breedlove had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Jenise Gentry led UAPB (1-29) with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Alcorn State controlled the opening half, rolling out to a 13-2 lead and cruising into the break with a 36-16 advantage. The Lady Braves pulled away in the second half, leading by as much as 29 points.
Quotes from UAPB Head Coach Cary Shelton
"Alcorn certainly was prepared for us. We struggled initially defending them. We threw a couple different defenses at them. Certainly got after them the best we could. They had a better a shooting night then we did. [Okwumabua] missed the last three games She's a junior for us, she's our captain."
"The girls are coming back next year they're gonna win. I don't know how it's gonna pan out right now."
"Alcorn set up a challenge from us from the beginning. The girls have gotten better. Every practice they come in and hope to get better. I've got a great group of girls."
Quotes from UAPB Center Chigozianyi Okwumabua
"We started the game off really slow. We didn't play with heart. At first we were really lagging but we picked up the last 8 minutes of the game, of course it was a little too late by then."
Quotes from Alcorn Head Coach Tonya Edwards
"First of all I'd like to sya congrats to pb. I thought they were a forced to be reckoned with.
"They were strong inside, we had our hands full with them. we knew we had to extend to the floor 90 feet on them. We knew if they got us to half court they would wear us down."
"They continued to fight back."
"All and all for 40 minutes I thought it was good to watch two halves come together."
"We're gonna have our hands full (with Southern). When that ball does go up, we're gonna have to put a body on them."
"We're gonna get out of here as quick as we get off this podium, then get a bite to eat, then get them into bed."
Quotes from Alcorn State Guard Kiara Ruffin
"Everybody stepped up. That's how we got our defense, through our offense."
"Getting rest is important but we want this game so bad we're gonna go hard no matter what."
Quotes from Alcorn State forward Sharnika Breedlove
"Down low they were very aggressive. It was hard work like going around a tree."
#9 Texas Southern (4-25) 51, #8 Jackson State (11-16) 49
Jackson State had beaten Texas Southern twice during the regular season, but the Lady Tigers picked the right time to get some payback, knocking JSU out of the SwAC tournament in the first round on Tuesday at the Special Events Center.
Kayla West led TSU with 17 points and nine rebounds. West was 5-of-11 from the field. Morgan Simmons followed with 16 points.
Takeya Felder led JSU with 14 points. Tiffany Kellum added 10 points and a team-high five rebounds. Jasmine Greer came off the bench to score 10 points and pull down four rebounds for the Lady Tigers.
Jackson State jumped out to a 17-5 lead, but Texas Southern clawed their way back, whittling the lead down to three at 21-18 with 25 seconds left in the half. JSU held a 23-18 lead at the break.
Early in the second half, TSU took its first lead at 26-24 with 17:18 left in the second half on a layup by West. Later in the half, JSU had pulled ahead and had a 42-39 lead with 2:12 remaining. But, a 12-0 rally by TSU sank JSU down the stretch. TSU took a 51-42 lead with only 32 seconds left.
JSU tried to rally with the clock draining away on their season. The Lady Tigers would score seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Takeya Felder as time expired, but it was too little, too late.
Texas Southern Head Coach Yolanda Wells-Broughton
"Im just proud of my team, its just a gutsy performance. Its been a long year for us and it was just a matter of withstanding the runs and we know weve gone into storms and droughts, as far as consistent bases. When we withstood the runs, we knew that we had every opportunity at that point. With such a young team, the freshmen, with an opportunity to play a tournament, they made me nervous. They were all telling me they were nervous and we all had players in the locker room, telling me they needed some consoling. I was like oh my gosh, I knew that it was a tremendous experience for them but I was really proud of them. With my gutsy freshmen and entire team, I thought over all it was out first time to completely withstand 40 minutes the entire.
"I told them they could enjoy the win for about an hour. I'm giving credit to Jackson state."
"We had more movement, we felt Jackson state was too stagnant, at the 4:00, the more movement we created in the offense, the more looks we had, and we had great looks. It wasn't about big eyes and little tease, it was about finishing. It was constant teaching and coaching consistently. That's what it came down to, all five on the floor."
TSU Freshman Forward Morgan Simmons
"My nerves went away once my first shot go in.. my shooter, youll be okay just make the first shot.. I bring the energy and that's my thing I bring to the team, and I picked up the energy up a little bit, and nerves went away and I had a drink of water and it was on from then."
"Well we had a pep talk before the game and coach (Wells) said remember the last high school game you played and remember the good things you did and bring them to the table. And so my team came together, we had faith in each other and we had faith in god. Today was enough and it couldn't happen three times in a row, so we came together as a team... we considered the first half the bad half, we had all our nerves go away and made all our mistakes, and the second half we fixed our little mistakes, an we did the little things, which is what our coach kept telling us. and we kept our composure and poise. And we played smart basketball."
TSU Freshman Point Guard Kayla West
"My nerves went away when I saw morgan made the first shot, because she was the most nervous out of everybody, and she calmed everyone else down... shes a very energetic person, and when her nerves was gone, everyone else was calm. that's when my nerves could go away."
"Little things win games and I know my team needs me so im going to do the good things...."
Jackson State Head Coach Larry McNeil
"Just disappointing. We didn't shoot the ball well, we're going to lose. We didn't play well and they took advantage of it and they won the game. It's disappointing and heartbreaking but were going to move on."
"Texas southern did exactly what we thought they were going to do. We got too many easy looks of the screen, we had injuries there that enabled us to not get over there, I have to tip my hat off to texas southern, they won."
Upcoming Tournament Schedule
Southern (13-12, 12-6) vs. Alcorn State, 10:00 a.m.
Mississippi Valley State (17-12, 14-4) vs. Texas Southern, 5:30 p.m.
Alabama A&M (17-11, 12-6) vs. Grambling State (14-14, 10-8), 10:00 a.m.
Alabama State (14-13, 11-7) vs. Prairie View (14-15, 11-7), 5:30 p.m.
Fri. 3/9 (Semifinals)
12:00 and 5:30 p.m. on SWAC-TV
Sat. 3/10 (Championship Game)
5:00 p.m. Live on ESPNU