Lady Braves dealt first SWAC loss of season

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 13, 2003

JACKSON &045; She stands 6-7, has arms that can almost stretch the width of the lane and has a nice little jump shot from 10 feet out.

She’s Jackson State post Amie Williams, but most people at JSU and the rest of the Southwestern Athletic Conference know her pretty well now.

Williams scored most of her 21 points late in the game to help the Lady Tigers hand Alcorn its first conference loss, 74-65, Saturday night at the Williams Athletic and Assembly Center.

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She’s known as Big Smooth, and Williams had moves that show she’s smooth indeed.

&uot;She stepped up and showed the type of ball she’s capable of playing,&uot; Jackson State head coach Denise Taylor said of Williams. &uot;As the saying goes, big-time players make big-time plays. She’s a big-time player. This is a kid that can play at the next level.&uot;

Williams keyed a Jackson State comeback over Alcorn, who led by 12 early in the second half but had trouble with turnovers down the stretch. The Lady Braves had to stretch their defense after JSU’s guards hit some key baskets, and Williams and the Lady Tigers took over from there.

&uot;I thought we played well in the first half, but the second half we didn’t do the things we did in the first half,&uot; Alcorn head coach Shirley Walker said. &uot;We didn’t come back and pick up the intensity like we did in the first half. We couldn’t come back like we did a couple games this season. We had some turnovers, and I thought the turnovers killed us.&uot;

&uot;But we ended up on a good note. The conference just started. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for Grambling on Monday.&uot;

The Lady Braves had problems with the ball &045; they had just three field goals in the last 7:54 &045; but the biggest problem was defensively trying to shut down Williams. The junior post from Southwest Tennessee Community College had just five points by halftime and spent some time on the bench with two fouls.

She ended up scoring 12 of the team’s final 13 points and 14 of its last 20.

&uot;I had a hard time starting off,&uot; said Williams, a native of Cleveland. &uot;At halftime she (Taylor) came in and talked to us and gave us the energy to go. This was important for us because the last four times before last year Alcorn has beaten us. It was very important for us.&uot;

As Williams’ points kept falling, the Lady Braves couldn’t respond. Jackson State went on an 11-0 run that Williams finished off at the 3:29 mark with a bucket for a 64-54 lead, but Alcorn got a 3-pointer from Keairra Levy to stop it and trim the lead to seven.

Later on Tnonealyer Powers hit two free throws with 1:34 left that trimmed the deficit to six, 67-61, but Williams hit two big baskets 20 seconds apart to give the Lady Tigers a commanding 71-61 lead with 57 seconds left.

A 3-pointer from Levy and one of two free throws from Danielle Tipton allowed the Lady Braves to get the deficit back to six at 71-65, but they couldn’t score after that.

&uot;We didn’t follow the game plan like we should have,&uot; Walker said. &uot;We wanted to go inside, and we sat back and settled for jump shots. I thought it was to our advantage to go inside. They had the momentum going, and our kids were a little disappointed in some things I can’t say in the paper. I just told them we’ve got to fight through it.&uot;

Levy hit a big 3-pointer just over three minutes into the game to give Alcorn a 43-31 lead, its biggest of the game. That’s when the Lady Tigers first got rolling with their guards &045; subsequently opening up Williams on the inside &045; as Sonia Washington hit a bucket to key an 11-2 run.

Alcorn got two baskets from Zandra Hall for a 49-42 lead with 12:38 left, but JSU got two free throws from Washington, another big 3-pointer from Johnson and a basket from Aisha Scott at the 10:40 mark to tie the game at 49-49.

&uot;I think this team really grew up in the last 10 minutes,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;Once we got focused and settled down &045; it’s always difficult playing in front of the home crowd. We had to just settle down a little bit. I thought we made the plays, handled the pressure and stopped the drives. We played hard, played smart and played tough.&uot;