One of the biggest problems for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff women’s basketball team has been its inconsistency on offense.
“If you are going to be a good ball club, you got to be consistent,” UAPB head coach Nate Kilbert said. “We don’t have a consistent scorer and we don’t have a consistent rebounder.
“We got to get some consistency in what we are doing and we just don’t have it offensively.”
The Lady Lions’ struggles showed again on Monday as they lost 69-51 to Alabama State inside the H.O. Clemmons Arena.
UAPB was just 18 of 66 (27 percent) from the floor in the game, including just eight made baskets in the second half.
“We just had a hard time putting the ball in the basket,” Kilbert said. “Then we weren’t good enough defensively to keep the game close.
“When you are having a hard time putting the ball in the basket, you got to be good defensively and we just weren’t.”
In the second half, UAPB (3-18, 2-9 SWAC) didn’t score from the floor until the 11:15 on a Carlisha Walker putback. By then, though, the Lady Lions trailed Alabama State (10-12, 3-8) by 16 points.
“I don’t think it was them, I think it was just us,” Kilbert said. “If you look at some of the shots that we missed, especially underneath the basket, they just really had their hands straight up, which is good defense.
“… We just didn’t make the shot. Some of the shots we got we were wide open and a couple of times we didn’t even hit the rim on it.
“It was just one of those terrible nights shooting.”
Senior Christina Lasane led UAPB with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting with six rebounds. Sophomore Cassidy Wright contributed with eight points including 4-of-6 from the free throw line. UAPB finished 13 of 23 (56 percent) from the charity stripe.
“I thought we got some good looks, we just missed them,” Kilbert said. “… You are going to have those kind of games but we just weren’t good enough defensively to keep it close.”
With about 11 minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 12 following a bucket by ASU senior Taila Arrington. But then freshman Kayla Tucker hit her first of four three-pointers to spark a Lady Hornets’ offense that led 35-24 heading into the break.
“That jump started them,” Kilbert said. “With her having the ability to hit that shot, it forced us to do other things and it allowed other people to get off.”
Tucker, a native of Oklahoma City, scored all 12 of her points in the first half. ASU senior Nakiya Smith led with 16 points on 6 of 14 shooting while Ashunte Smith contributed with 13 points and four rebounds.
“To me, they just outworked us when it really counted,” Kilbert said. “As bad as we played in the first half, we were only down 11 points.
“But they came back in the second half and just jumped on us.”
ASU was 26 of 65 (40 percent) from the floor and 10 of 16 from the free throw line.
“We just weren’t good defensively,” Kilbert said. “We knew who their shooters were and we allowed them to get wide open shots.”
Walker, who finished Saturday’s game with 12 points for UAPB, had just five points on 2-of-9 shooting in Monday’s loss. Jazmyne Victorian had seven points to go along with her six rebounds.
“We couldn’t find that one person that we could go to that could get us a basket,” Kilbert said. “When you are struggling like that, you need your defense to be awesome and it wasn’t.”
UAPB will travel to Baton Rouge, La. to face Southern on Saturday and will play Alcorn State next week in Mississippi. The Lady Lions return home on Feb. 22 to host Prairie View A&M beginning at 5 p.m.