Hall, Levy key Lady Braves to open SWAC Saturday against Prairie View

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2003

LORMAN &045; Time may not kill all wounds for Zandra Hall, but assists and wins sure do.

Hall, now a senior with the Lady Braves, left Alabama State after her freshman season because of what she called an &uot;uncomfortable environment&uot;

and transferred to Alcorn State.

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A native of Memphis, Hall switched schools despite averaging more minutes than any other Lady Hornet.

Lorman was the final destination with family in nearby Port Gibson and because of Lady Braves head coach Shirley Walker’s offense.

&uot;There is more to life besides basketball,&uot; said Hall, who leads the SWAC with 68 assists. &uot;(Walker) is more like a mother to me. She’ll fuss at you on the court, but then pull you aside and tell you everything is going to be all right.&uot;

Walker certainly welcomed Hall onto Alcorn’s campus after the 5-7 guard dismissed the Lady Braves from the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament in 2000 with a jumper late for the win.

Walker said it takes time for most newcomers to settle into her system and, unfortunately, Hall fell into the norm.

&uot;It was definitely something we had to drill in her head,&uot; Walker said. &uot;But now she’s a driving force for us and now she knows the system better than anybody.&uot;

Hall’s familiarity with Walker’s run-and-gun tempo is key for such a young team.

Despite Hall and Keairra Levy acting as they lone two seniors on a 17-man roster, the Lady Braves are unquestionably a experience-led team.

Walker feels like the team is in capable hands on the court when Hall, Levy and sophomore Danielle Tipton are in.

Levy leads Alcorn in scoring at 15.4 points per game and Tipton is a sophomore athletically, but a senior academically.

Tipton recovered from a torn ACL last year, showing the kind of determination and will, Walker knew would make her into an amazing floor leader.

&uot;She’s turned this team around,&uot; Walker said of

Tipton. &uot;Sometimes you’ll get kids who are lazy to do rehabilitation, but she walked in on one leg every day last year and worked.

&uot;I knew she had that attitude to be No. 1.&uot;

As a team the Lady Braves are far from being No. 1 but a 6-4 non-conference record served notice heading into SWAC play this Saturday.

Alcorn hosts Prairie View this weekend and then Texas Southern on Monday.

&uot;They know it. All of them know what SWAC play is about,&uot; Levy said of the underclassmen. &uot;Coming off a good non-conference season it’s our time to step up and we’ve been demonstrating that by practicing harder.&uot;

Prairie View comes into Lorman Saturday nursing a layoff since a Dec. 16 loss to Northwestern State.

The Lady Panthers (1-3) have stumbled out of the gates, but Walker sees them as a top conference contender with its size down low.

&uot;Prairie View is one of the teams in the conference that is strong down low where we’re very young,&uot; Walker said. &uot;We have to use all our tools to jump ahead and eliminate the turnovers.&uot;

After winning five straight, the Lady Braves were outmatched in a 96-52 loss to No. 16 South Carolina.

Alcorn, the best field goal shooting team in the SWAC, shot 29.4 percent in the second half and just 1-of-10 from 3-point land.

&uot;I thought the score really didn’t indicate the way we played,&uot; Walker said. &uot;I thought the players after the starting five were a little shaky and intimidated by a good ball club.&uot;

More reason to trust the well being of your squad’s success with to those with the most fluency like Hall, Levy and Tipton.

&uot;(Hall) is beginning to be the floor leader she needs to be,&uot; Walker said. &uot;But we have more than one right now and that’s a big help because they can get across something on their own where coaches might not be able to do.&uot;