Lady Tigers put away Lady Braves in SWAC contest

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 9, 2003

LORMAN &045; Amie Williams can shoot the jumper.

From way out.

Jackson State’s 6-7 post did the damage again against Alcorn Saturday night, and the junior college transfer showed probably the best way to stop her is to get her off the floor. Williams cleaned up underneath, hit a key jumper late in the game and helped the Lady Tigers put away the smaller Lady Braves, 65-58, in a critical Southwestern Athletic Conference bout.

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It was the first loss at home for the Lady Braves (12-8, 6-4) and gave the Lady Tigers (15-4, 8-2A) the season sweep.

&uot;We wanted to win and needed to win,&uot; Alcorn senior guard Zandra Hall said. &uot;Now we’ve got to put it behind us and put our focus toward Grambling (Monday). The first half we got deep in the hole and had some turnovers. It was too deep to dig ourselves out of. I thought their guards out-played us.&uot;

The guard play was pivotal, and the Lady Tigers did it not only with points but with steals and assists. Williams sat for a good nine minutes in the second half as the Lady Braves mounted a run, but Alcorn couldn’t convert on shots late to get over the hump.

Jackson State finished the game on a 7-2 run and held Alcorn without a field goal in the last 2:02.

&uot;Turnovers and rebounds, and I think Jackson just out-played us,&uot; Alcorn head coach Shirley Walker said. &uot;They out-played us, and our guard play &045; we couldn’t close the gap. After we got the big girl out of the game, we couldn’t make the big stop. We had all the opportunities in the world to do what we needed to do. The big girl came out of the game, and we couldn’t take advantage of it.&uot;

The plan &045; just as everybody does against someone 6-7 &045; was to get Williams in foul trouble and put her on the bench. It eventually worked as she drew her fifth foul with 26 seconds left, but by that time the Lady Tigers had a nine-point lead.

But about a minute before that was Williams’ biggest bucket of the night &045; a jumper inside the 3-point line just before the shot clock buzzer went off for a 60-56 lead.

&uot;Shirley Walker does a great job, and her players are never going to stop playing,&uot; Jackson State head coach Denise Taylor said. &uot;We knew her players were going to make a run. What we had to do was stop the bleeding. We made some defensive stops and were able to sustain the run. Amie is a big-time player, and big-time players make big-time plays.&uot;

The shot was big time, especially since many folks in the SWAC haven’t seen Williams shoot much from beyond a three-feet diameter of the basket. And it was a back-breaker for the Lady Braves, who trimmed a 12-point lead down to two when Latoya Johnson hit a basket with 2:02 left for a 58-56 deficit.

&uot;She hurt us a good bit,&uot; Walker said of Williams. &uot;They played to our weakness, and we didn’t do the things we needed to do when she was out of the game. At that particular time (of Williams’ jumper) I thought we had the momentum going.

&uot;Nobody thought she could hit the shot. I didn’t. She’s better than I thought she was. I take my hat off to her. I’m glad to see that kind of talent in our conference.&uot;

Williams went to the bench with her third foul at the 15:06 mark with Jackson State holding a 42-34 lead, but the Lady Tigers got it to nine with 4:54 left on a basket from Aisha Scott. Alcorn then got consecutive baskets from Shirley Gooch and Hall to cut the lead to 50-45 with 8:48 left, and a shot at the 7:34 mark from Latoya Johnson put the deficit at 52-47.

Williams re-entered the game and scored immediately at the 6:11 mark, but Alcorn got it down to four on three occasions before Johnson’s bucket at the 2:02 mark trimmed it to 58-56.

&uot;We’re trying to get her to keep her head in the game,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;She’s got to learn how to play with three fouls.&uot;

Jackson State got a lead early in the game against Alcorn’s zone defense and started to pull away. Consecutive 3-pointers from Genina Johnson gave Jackson at 23-16 lead, and consecutive buckets from Latasha Lee and Theresa Woodard late in the half gave JSU a 35-25 lead.

In the second half Alcorn cut it to 40-34 when Tnonealyer Powers hit two free throws at the 15:26 mark, but Jackson State got a basket from Williams to start a 6-0 run that ended with a basket from Sonia Washington at the 13:30 mark for a 46-34 lead.

&uot;She (Williams) was a factor, but we allowed the guards to get her the ball,&uot; Hall said. &uot;If we wouldn’t have let them give her the ball, she wouldn’t have hurt us.&uot;