Lady Lions nearly pull off upset

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff women’s basketball team nearly pulled off a major upset Monday night as they lost 67-64 to Texas Southern inside H.O. Clemmons Arena.

“I’m proud of them, I really am,” UAPB head coach Nate Kilbert said. “We had a few break downs, which is typical with a young team like ours.

“I’m proud of the way they played.”

Leading 66-61 with about 30 seconds left to play, TSU (16-9, 13-1 SWAC) freshman Alexus Johnson went to the line to shoot the front end of a 1-and-1. She missed the first one but was able to grab her own rebound.

“We didn’t do what we were supposed to do on that,” Kilbert said. “Somebody missed an assignment and that really hurt.

“You can’t make mistakes like that against good teams. They will make you pay.”

With 17.2 seconds left, junior guard Jazzmin Parker was fouled. She made one of two and it gave the Lady Tigers a six-point lead.

UAPB senior Christina Lasane answered with a three-pointer and it brought the Lady Lions (3-22, 2-13) within three points with eight seconds left.

“Lasane made some big shots to keep us in the game,” Kilbert said. “If we cant shoot like that, we got a chance to beat people.

“Our problem has been, we just haven’t been making shots.”

TSU junior Sarah Williams was fouled on the inbounds play and sent to the free throw line. She missed it and UAPB was able to grab the rebound.

UAPB sophomore Cassidy Wright attempted a half court shot that nearly went in but was not off in time anyway.

“Right at the end of the game, we had a chance to tie but we just didn’t get the ball up the floor fast enough,” Kilbert said. “We just didn’t have enough time.”

UAPB was 25 of 62 (40.3 percent) from the floor including 6 of 18 from the three-point range. They also made 8 of 10 (80 percent) from the free throw line.

Texas Southern was 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) from the floor and 8 of 16 (50 percent) from the free throw line.

“We got to play like this when we go to Grambling; we got to play like this when we go to Jackson,” Kilbert said. “You can’t do that one night just because you are playing against the best team in the league and then just fade away.

“We got to show people that we could play this way consistently.”

Parker, who finished with a game high 27 points, took over for TSU in the second half. She scored eight of the team’s first 12 points of the second half including two three-pointer.

It gave the Lady Tigers a 42-36 lead with 15:45 left in the game.

“I thought we defended her well,” Kilbert said. “I thought we made her make some tough shots and take a lot off balance shots.

“She is just good.”

Kilbert said the same thing happened in Houston earlier this season.

“When you got a kid like that, you are a very difficult team to beat,” Kilbert said.

Brianna Sidney and Ashley Ferguson contributed with 10 points each for TSU. Sarah Williams chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.

For UAPB, Wright finished with a team-high 14 points on 4 of 10 shooting. She made three three-pointers and was 3 of 4 from the free throw line.

Lasane and Jazmyne Victorian had 12 points for the Lady Lions. Victorian grabbed nine rebounds and was 6 of 10 from the floor.

Marion Thompson chipped in with six points.

UAPB will travel to Grambling State on Saturday and Jackson State on Monday. They wrap up the regular season with a home game against Mississippi Valley State on March 8 beginning at 5 p.m.