Courtesy of Grambling State University Athletic Communications
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | The Grambling State University women’s basketball team went nearly five minutes without a bucket from the floor in between the first and second quarter as the Lady Tigers fell, 74-59, to Alabama State in the 2022 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals on Friday at Bartow Arena.
Alabama State (15-14), which avoided losing three straight to Grambling State this season, advances to the 2022 SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship game and will meet the winner of Jackson State (top seed) or Southern (fourth seed) at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Bartow Arena. Grambling State, which reached the tournament semifinals last season, concludes the year with a 15-17 record.
Alexus Holt scored 10 of her game-high 24 points in the first half, along with six rebounds, five assists and one steal. Justice Coleman, playing in her final game for the Lady Tigers, recorded 12 points, four boards and one assist.
Jayla Crawford paced Alabama State with 22 points, with five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Shmya Ward poured in 20 points, nine boards, one blocked shot and one assist, while Ayana Emmanuel added a double-double of 18 points, 10 boards, two steals and two assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
– Alabama State raced out to a 9-5 advantage after an Ayana Emmanuel jumper with just over seven minutes left in the opening period
– Grambling State got a free throw by Alexus Holt and a layup by DeAndre’a Alexander to cut the margin to 9-8, but the Hornets responded with a 3-pointer by DaKiyah Sanders and a jumper by Farrah Pearson, giving Alabama State a 14-8 lead with 5:12remaining
– The Hornets built an 18-10 advantage after a Farrah Pearson bucket with just under two minutes left and took an 18-12 lead into the second quarter
– Grambling State went scoreless for five minutes, a stretch between the first and second quarter, as Alexander’s layup closed the gap to 20-14, with 6:28to play in the first half
– Alabama State stretched the lead to 33-19 after an Emmanuel layup with just under two minutes to play
– Back-to-back baskets by Holt trimmed the deficit to 33-24 with 1:07 remaining
– Alabama State got a free throw by Ward with 11 seconds left as the Hornets took a 34-24 lead into the break
– Grambling State opened the second half on a 7-2 run, capped by a Jasmine Forte jumper, closing the gap to 36-31 with 8:23 remaining
– The Hornets continued to push the tempo and extended the margin to 43-33 after a fastbreak layup by Emmanuel with 5:54 left
– The Lady Tigers closed the gap to 43-37 after buckets by Justice Coleman and Ariel Williams, but back came Alabama State as the Hornets pushed the lead to 47-37 after a Farrah Pearson layup with just over three minutes to play in the period
– A 3-pointer by Jayla Crawford with 14 seconds remaining in the period gave Alabama State its largest lead of the game through three quarter, 52-39, as the Hornets took the 12-point advantage
– The Hornets opened the final period with six straight points to extend the advantage to 58-39 with 8:20remaining
– Grambling State slowly cut the deficit as Holt scored seven straight points as the Lady Tigers trailed, 58-46, with 6:36 left
– However, the Hornets answered with free throws by Crawford, Ward and Emmanuel to push the lead to 65-46 with 4:14 remaining
– The Lady Tigers could not recover from the huge deficit in falling in the SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals for the second consecutive season
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
– Grambling State shot 31.7 percent (20-of-63) from the field and 75.0 percent (15-of-20) from the free-throw line
– Alexus Holt registered 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and one steal
– Justice Coleman added 12 points, four boards and one assist
– The Lady Tigers finished with 28 points in the paint, 13 fastbreak points, seven points off 14 Alabama State turnovers, seven second-chance points and seven bench points
– Alabama State shot 44.3 percent (27-of-61) from the field and 81.0 percent (17-of-21) from the charity stripe
– Jayla Crawford recorded 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block
– Shmya Ward poured in 20 points, nine boards, one block and one assist
– Ayana Emmanuel registered a double-double of 18 points, 10 boards, two steals and two assists
– The Hornets finished with 42 points in the paint, 24 points off 17 Grambling State turnovers, 15 fastbreak points, 13 second-chance points and 11 bench points
QUOTE BY GRAMBLING STATE HEAD COACH FREDDIE MURRAY
“It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be. Alabama State wanted it more than we did and had a lot of motivation going into the game, having beat them twice throughout the year. They were in this position last year and were in the championship game with an opportunity to beat Jackson State. They (Alabama State) came out and played a great game from start to finish. I think from a rebounding standpoint and second-chance baskets they did a great job. Our kids fought to the end and I couldn’t bemore proud.”
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