Lady Braves get big win before road trip

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

LORMAN &045; Now is the time to get back on the road.

Not just any simple road trip, mind you. The Alcorn State Lady Braves are heading for a two-game swing at Alabama A&M and Alabama State next weekend.

Sounds tough, but after they won both games on a home swing &045; including Monday’s 79-57 dumping of Arkansas-Pine Bluff &045; they are playing some of their better ball of the season and have a better grip of what it takes to play on the road.

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&uot;We’re going to try to keep this winning streak going,&uot; Alcorn guard Danielle Tipton said. &uot;I know it’ll be tough on the road, but we’ll be ready to play. Those are some good teams we’re about to play, so we’ll really have to play hard.&uot;

The Lady Braves will head to Alabama with a 4-2 mark in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and a good bit more confidence than when they came back home for the homestand. The Lady Braves (10-6 overall) had a solid start Monday and overcame a lapse in the second half to put away the visiting Lady Lions, who dropped to 2-3 in conference with the loss.

Alcorn remains behind Alabama State in the standings.

&uot;We have a big road trip and a tough road trip,&uot; Alcorn head coach Shirley Walker said. &uot;Nobody can do this for us. This is something we have to do for ourselves.&uot;

A defensive effort like the one they let loose on the Lady Lions could do it for them. Alcorn forced 25 turnovers and came up with 18 steals in keeping UAPB’s offense in check.

Alcorn had a double-digit lead midway through the first half, let up to allow UAPB back in it and came with a 16-2 run in the second half to put the game away.

&uot;I thought we did (set the tone on defense) when we first got out there,&uot; Walker said. &uot;But during the course of the game I thought we had some breakdowns. Pine Bluff has a good team and real good athletes. We knew in all positions they were tall and had good athletes. We had to establish a good game plan, and it had to be defense to do what we needed to do to come out on top.&uot;

Pine Bluff shook off a sluggish start to get things together in the second half and make a run after Alcorn got a bucket from Latoya Johnson at the 9:24 mark for a 58-38 lead. Pine Bluff later got a 3-pointer from Maleka Sweat, a three-point play from Whitney Stewart underneath to cut the lead to 60-46.

After Chekesha Johnson knocked down a shot and Krystal Adams converted on two free throws, the Lady Lions had the lead down to 61-50 with 5:33 left.

&uot;I thought during the course of the game we had some breakdowns on defense,&uot; Walker said. &uot;What we’re trying to do game by game getting strong mentally and physically. You’ve got to go tough the whole 40 minutes.&uot;

That’s when the Lady Braves kicked it back up a notch. Tipton nailed a 3-pointer, and Tnonealyer Powers grabbed the in-bound and put it in for two quick points. Powers hit a bucket with 4:12 left for a 69-50 lead, and she added another at the 3:02 mark fro a 72-50 lead.

That just opened up the outside, and Tipton drained another 3-pointer with 2:49 left for a 75-50 lead.

Pine Bluff got its first basket in

over three minutes when Jewel Owens scored with 2:22 left to put Alcorn’s lead at 75-52.

&uot;We got real aggressive and had to turn it up in the second half,&uot; Tipton said. &uot;I think that made a big difference in the game. We were getting a couple steals, and Zandra (Hall) was just pushing the ball up. Our people were running the floor well and getting layups.&uot;

The Lady Braves kept going inside after finding success there early. Pine Bluff had the size to match up with Alcorn underneath, but the Lady Braves on occasions got position and attacked the Lady Lions’ zone defense early.

Powers and Candace Roberts combined for 30 points, while Powers registered another double-double with 10 rebounds. That took a little pressure off Alcorn’s guards as shooting guard Keairra Levy and point guard Hall had seven apiece.

&uot;Levy didn’t get a chance to shoot the ball like we wanter her to,&uot; Walker said. &uot;But we went inside so we could go to the free throw line. We really wanted to go inside hoping Tipton and Levy would hit the shots from the outside. I thought Natalie McGraw came in and helped us off the bench.&uot;

Alcorn got rolling early with a 18-8 halfway through the first when Latriska Jones put in a layup off of a steal. Newcomer Shirley Gooch scored at the 6:51 mark to give Alcorn a 26-12 lead, and Hall nailed a jumper with 3:53 left for a 32-16 lead.

Pine Bluff shot just 28.6 percent (10 of 35) from the field in the first half.