Senior Tianna Jones hit a layup with 2 seconds left as the Talladega (Ala.) College Lady Tornadoes knocked off the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions 77-75 Tuesday night at H.O. Clemmons Arena.
“The kid made a good play, but she should have never got that deep,” UAPB head coach Nate Kilbert said. “We had three people around her and she beat all three of them.
“It was awful defense and a great play by that young woman. She got to the basket and made a tough play.”
UAPB (1-7) tied the game at 75 with 10.7 seconds left thanks to a free thrown made by Carlisha Walker.
Following a timeout by Talladega College (12-1), Jones took the inbound pass and ran down the left sideline before forcing up the layup – handing the Lady Lions their seventh straight loss.
“Everything we talked about in the huddle, we did just the complete opposite,” Kilbert said. “You always want the person catching the ball going the opposite direction.
“She caught it and went straight to the basket.”
UAPB trailed as much as five points with 4:13 in the game. A free throw made Erin Campbell and Walker cut the deficit to 72-68 with 3:57 left in the game.
Marion Thompson made a put-back and Walker scored inside with 2:09 to trim the lead back to 75-72. A bucket by Cassidy Wright trimmed the deficit to one point with 1:01 left and Walker capped the comeback by making 1 of 2 from the free throw line.
“We played like we could turn it on and beat them at any time,” Kilbert said. “But I knew they were too good for that. I knew what kind of team we were facing tonight.
“They are 11-1 and there is a reason they are 11-1. They have a pretty good ball club.”
Talladega College, which was ranked 13th in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 poll coming into Tuesday’s game, trailed by as much as 12 points in the first half.
They close the half with a 14-3 run to cut the deficit to 35-34 before halftime.
“I thought when we got the 12-point lead, we relaxed and OK, game over,” Kilbert said. “And that’s when they decided to start playing harder.
“They were out-hustling us and grabbing all of the loose balls. Just about every time down, they got two looks at the bucket.
“At some point they are going to make them.”
The Lady Lions trailed the entire second half.
“I’ve been playing Talladega and that coach for a long time,” Kilbert said. “That’s the first time beating me, but I knew how good they are.
“They’ve been good every year we’ve played them and always been tough.”
UAPB will head back on the road Friday to face Memphis at 7 p.m. The Lady Lions will face Arizona on Dec. 29 and begin conference play at Mississippi Valley State on Jan. 4.