Back home and loving it: Alcorn women down Valley for SWAC win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2003

LORMAN &045; SWAC teams beware. You don’t want to come across an Alcorn women’s team that has lost back-to-back conference games.

After suffering Southwestern Athletic Conference road losses to Jackson State and Grambling in the past week by a combined 14 points, the Lady Braves (9-6, 3-2) wasted no time in showing their appreciation for returning home Saturday against Mississippi Valley State.

The backcourt tandem of Keairra Levy and Zandra Hall scored the game’s first 10 points and 14 of Alcorn’s opening 16 as the Lady Braves led wire-to-wire in a 71-52 defeat of the Devilettes (5-7,1-3).

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&uot;Those two losses were a wakeup call for us,&uot; said Hall, who finished with 14 points and seven assists. &uot;In the losses I came off the court hanging my head, the rest of the team looked at me and it went down from there.

&uot;I told the first five (starters) that we had to come out and play hard tonight.&uot;

The second trip back to the Davey L. Whitney Complex for Mississippi Valley head coach Nathaniel Kilbert was once again a rough venture.

Kilbert, the former Alcorn assistant who served 10 years under Alcorn head coach Shirley Walker before taking the Devilettes job a year ago, is now 0-2 on return visits to Lorman and 0-3 overall against his former colleagues and pupils.

&uot;I’m not surprised by the way we started,&uot; Kilbert said. &uot;I know the kids wanted to win this one for me, especially with two transfers (from Alcorn). The slow start was a direct result of us being to hyped for the game.&uot;

Hall and Levy traded baskets to boost Alcorn out to a 6-0 lead before Levy connected on the unusual, but highly popular four-point play, where she hit a 3-pointer and was fouled. The connection on the freebie put the Lady Braves up 10-0 less than three minutes into the game.

&uot;They (Alcorn’s players) know they can play with any of the schools in this conference,&uot; Walker said. &uot;We saw the mistakes we made in the two losses and we prepared this whole week well physically and mentally.&uot;

Valley tried to fight back, but the lead grew to as many as 19, 27-8, when Shirley Gooch did her best whirling dervish routine on an acrobatic layup with just less than 10 minutes to play before halftime.

Valley post Uri Honeysucker kept the Devilettes in it somewhat, though, with consecutive baskets in the four-minute mark. Her hoop with 4:07 to play cut the lead to 14, 31-17, but Valley could not get any closer before the first half horn sounded.

The Lady Braves headed to the locker room on a 9-2 run, highlighted by another Levy trey with 2:09 to play, to push the lead back past 20 points.

&uot;We missed a lot of good looks at the basket,&uot; said Kilbert, a Tyrone Willingham look-alike. &uot;If we made our shots and free throws it might have been a different outcome. It wasn’t a whole lot of what Alcorn did to us, but what we did to ourselves.&uot;

Honeysucker’s 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting was the only bright spot in a first half that saw Valley commit 14 turnovers and knock down just 30.8 percent of its shots.

Honeysucker finished as the game’s top scorer with 22 points, while Levy led four Lady Braves in double figures with 16.