The Alabama State University Hornets (5-11) dropped a tight contest 67-64 against the Texas Southern University Tigers (4-11) on Jan. 24 after going cold in the fourth quarter.
For the entirety of the first quarter, both teams matched each other step for step. With a low-scoring first quarter and both teams tied up at 13, the Hornets offense took off to start the second. They scored six straight points and started taking control of the game.
Senior guard Ayanna Emmanuel scored on back-to-back plays with a layup and a three-pointer to continue to extend the lead. Juniors Hannah White and Tamia Stallings stayed aggressive and got to the free-throw line, going 4-4 to keep the Hornets in control. A layup from guard Jayla Crawford extended the Hornets’ lead to 13, their largest lead of the game, with 3:39 left in the second.
Just when it looked like the Tigers were reeling, they went on a 7-2 run to finish the first half. With this run, they cut their deficit down to seven with a 32-25 score.
A three-pointer by Crawford to start the second half gave the Hornets another double-digit lead. Not too long after, the Tigers went on a run of their own, taking advantage of some bad turnovers by the Hornets. Texas Southern cut the lead three with seven minutes left in the third. Due to the Tigers holding the Hornets to one shot, many of their misses resulted in points on the other end or good shot opportunities at the very least.
The Tigers cut the lead to three points again at the 4:18 mark, forcing Alabama State University head coach Freeda Freeman Jackson to call a timeout to give her team a chance to regroup. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, and the Hornets maintained a slim 50-47 lead going into the final quarter of play.
Both teams came out with fast tempos on offense, trading a pair of baskets. Alabama State struggled by going too quick and rushing their possessions, resulting in unforced turnovers or rushed shots. Coming off the momentum of coming back from multiple double-digit deficits, the Tigers continued to take advantage of the Hornets’ mistakes.
Even after getting points in transition, the Hornet could not get stops on the other end long enough to take the momentum away from the Tigers. After two free throws by Crawford to give her team a seven-point lead, the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to tie the game back up at 57 with six minutes left to go. Free throws from Crawford and forward Shmya Ward put ASU back up three points. Texas Southern battled back, not only tying the game back up but going up 63-60 with a little less than four minutes to go.
With the game so tight, any mistake would be costly. In an effort to speed up the tempo, the Hornets turned the ball over three straight times wasting valuable possessions. After a layup by Crawford tied the game up with 1:49 left to go, the Hornets were held scoreless for the rest of the game. Andriana Avent scored a layup for the Tigers, and the defense came up with three steals in a row, resulting in the game’s final three points.
After calling a timeout, Jackson drew up a play for her team. The Hornets came out of the timeout looking confident and looking to execute. After the ball was inbounded, it swung around and into the hands of Emmanuel, who rose up for the shot but was blocked by Ataiya Bridges, ending the game and completing the Texas Southern comeback.
Turnovers were the Hornets’ undoing as they totaled nine of their 25 turnovers in the fourth quarter alone. The points off turnovers were separated by three points in the Tigers favor, 18-15. They also went down in every shooting percentage. They went from 48.1% from the field to 35.5%, 50% from the three-point range to 25%, and 83.3% from the free-throw line to 66.7%.
Crawford led the team in scoring with 17 points, three rebounds, and two assists on 6-for-12 from the field. Emmanuel was not too far behind with a 14 point and five rebound performance. Ward totaled 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Hornets look to regroup as they return to the Dunn Oliver Acadome for a home matchup against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Jan. 29.