Grambling Lady Tigers fall 71-69 in SWAC semis

From Grambling Sports Information:

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.

Turning Point

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.

Inside the Numbers
> Grambling State was 25-of-55 (45.5 percent) shooting and 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) from the charity stripe
> Southern shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field and 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the free-throw line

> GSU registered 26 rebounds, including 20 on the defensive glass

> SU pulled down 44 rebounds, with 26 coming on the defensive end

> The Lady Tigers finished with 34 points in the paint, 20 bench points, 19 points off 22 Jaguar turnovers, four second-chance points and four fastbreak points

> The Jaguars tallied 21 points off 16 Lady Tiger turnovers, 17 bench points, 16 points in the paint, seven second-chance points and two fastbreak points

News & Notes

> Grambling State has won 10 or more conference games for the past four seasons

> Grambling State reached the Toyota SWAC Semifinals for the fourth straight year

> Shakyla Hill posted double figures in scoring in 31-of-32 games this season

> Shakyla Hill scored 15 or more points 75 times during her collegiate career

> Jazmin Boyd scored in double figures 77 times in her collegiate career

> Shakyla Hill finished with 2,073 career points, which ranked third all-time in GSU scoring history

> Shakyla Hill has 934 career rebounds, which ranked second in the GSU record books

> Shakyla Hill has 493 career steals, which is a Grambling State and SWAC record

> Shakyla Hill has 623 career assists, which is a Grambling State record 

> Jazmin Boyd finished her career with 1,354 points, which ranked eighth all-time in GSU scoring

> Takerra Parsons set career highs in points and rebounds against Alabama A&M. Her previous highs were 13 points against Alabama A&M (Jan. 4, 2017) and eight rebounds against McNeese State (Nov. 22, 2017)

> Shakyla Hill was named the SWAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday

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