title image Romeo T. Guzman
ITTA BENA, Miss. – Kayla Clark and Chanel Wilson each scored 16 points Saturday evening as Bethune-Cookman powered past a formidable Mississippi Valley State, 76-57 in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Basketball action in front of 2,012 patrons at R.W. Harrison HPER Complex.
With Bethune-Cookman (11-6, 2-2 SWAC) leading 35-31 at the beginning of the second half, the visiting Wildcats surged to their first double-digit lead of the game late in the third quarter.
O’Mariyah Tucker put in two of her three points of the third quarter with a putback layup at the 6:25 mark of the period. Moments later, center Kayla Clark would score another putback layup for the Wildcats to extend the Maroon and Gold lead at 42-34.
On the night, BCU held a 24-10 advantage in second-chance points over the hosts.
A pair of Sadie Williams free throws for Mississippi Valley State (2-16, 1-4) chopped the lead to 42-26 before D’Shantae Edwards picked off an Aaliyah Duranham pass and raced to the bucket for the driving layup. Edwards, a sophomore guard from Pennsylvania, later put in another basket with the and-one following the free throw, allowing the Cats their first double-digit lead of the contest at 47-36 with 1:47 left in the opening half.
The Cats outscored the Delta Devils 15-8 in the third quarter, taking a 50-39 advantage into the final period of play.
In the fourth quarter, the outside shooting of the Maroon and Gold came alive as BCU connected on 4 of 7 shots from beyond the arc.
MVSU’s Jaylia Reed knocked down one of her game-high matching four (4) three-pointers to bring the Delta Devils to within 53-49 under two minutes into the period. But just seconds later, Chanel Wilson hit on a three-pointer – one of her four from long range in the contest. After a Clark turnaround layup extended the BCU lead at 65-52, it was the Powder Springs, Georgia native Wilson registering her second three-pointer of the quarter.
Just two minutes later, Wilson poured in her fourth three of the quarter, giving the Cats a 74-54 lead. Wilson’s floating jumper just inside the paint put BCU up by its largest lead of the night, 76-54 with just 36 seconds remaining in the contest.
Bethune-Cookman trailed 20-19 after the first period of play, as the Delta Devils used a 10-1 run towards the latter stages of the opening quarter. Reed accounted for six points in the opening period, while Lizzie Walker supplied her side with four points.
Nevertheless, in the second quarter, it would be foul trouble that plagued the home-standing Delta Devils, as BCU entered the bonus to shoot free throws the rest of the way less than four minutes into the quarter. One of Mississippi Valley’s top scoring threats, Sh’Diamond McKnight, was tagged with her third foul of the game midway through the quarter.
BCU toed the foul line 16 times in the second quarter but shot just 50 percent to take a 33-28 lead with one minute remaining in the half. A Leah Turner three-pointer brought the lead to within two before Wilson knocked down a pair of free throws with 0.7 seconds showing on the clock before halftime.
Mississippi Valley was led in scoring by Reed with 19, while teammate McKnight scored 14 in the game. Reed finished 4 of 10 from long range for the Delta Devils. McKnight also supplied a game-high six assists and three steals.
Bethune-Cookman was topped in scoring by Clark and Wilson with 16 points apiece, as Clark – a native of Miami, shot 5-for-9 from the field. Wilson added a 4 of 6 touch from three-point territory. Clark completed her double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, Edwards also amassed a double-double with 15 points (5-for-9 from the foul line) and 11 rebounds (six offensive).
The Wildcats return to action Monday, Jan. 22, when traveling to H.O. Clemmons Arena to face SWAC opponent Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 5:30 p.m. CT.