Attempting to solve a dizzy SWAC season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Pardon me for a moment while I shake my head for a few seconds.

Now I feel a little better.

Dizzy, but better.

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I’m just trying to make sense of what’s going on the Southwestern Athletic Conference and rid myself of notions that one team ought to beat another on matchups.

All you can do is laugh, shake your head and wonder what the heck happened.

That’s when the old phrase kicks in: there are no specific big games; each one of them is big.

Case in point: Here is Alcorn State’s Lady Braves in good position to knock off conference-leading Alabama State at 5:30 p.m. today at the Whitney Complex in Lorman.

The Lady Hornets had the upper hand rather easily during the first meeting in Alabama, and the Lady Braves were off a bit after admittedly looking past Alabama A&M the game before.

Now up steps Bama State two days removed from Alcorn’s 74-57 dismantling of A&M Saturday night.

Alabama State? Well, the Lady Hornets lost their first SWAC game of the season Saturday at Southern, 60-58.

&uot;I told them we didn’t want to overlook A&M and go into Alabama State,&uot; Lady Braves head coach Shirley Walker said. &uot;We played a very poor game against A&M over there. We barely got out of there. You can’t overlook A&M.;&uot;

Was Alabama State overlooking Southern? Who knows. The Lady Hornets had built up a comfortable lead atop the standings at 12-0 thanks in part to Shameka Jackson, the SWAC Preseason Player of the Year.

Now with the loss the Lady Hornets have Jackson State, Grambling, Southern and Alcorn closing in behind them in the standings.

&uot;Truly, it’s one of the big ones,&uot; Walker said.&160;&uot;I tell them they’ll all be big now. We (didn’t) know what the outcome would be at Southern. Alabama State is going to be one of the big ones.&uot;

The key for the Lady Braves tonight may be containing Jackson. The SWAC’s leading scorer at 20 points a game, Jackson &045; much like 6-7 Jackson State post Amie Williams &045;&160;can create matchup problems for the Lady Braves, who aren’t anything flashy but play hard enough and well enough as a team to get the job done.

But like Jackson State, there’s more to Bama State than Jackson.

&uot;We don’t like to think one person makes up a team,&uot; Alcorn senior guard Keairra Levy said. &uot;We look at it as a team. We go out there and play everybody.&uot;

But it’s worth noting the 5-11 Jackson can do it all and virtually play any position on the floor.

&uot;She’s the strong point of Alabama State, even though they’ve got a 6-5 girl,&uot; Walker said.&160;&uot;But she’s not a Shameka Jackson. We’ve got a lot of respect for her and the whole team. They’re all good players.&uot;

But who knows what will happen. After all, not only did the Lady Hornets lose but the men’s team lost as well to a struggling Southern team.

&uot;We feel pretty confident,&uot; Alcorn post Tnonealyer Powers said.&160;&uot;We just have to stay focused and try to come out with a win.&uot;

Adam Daigle

is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail at