Lady Braves empty bench in rout of UAPB

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2005

LORMAN&045; After a 59-51 upset loss to Mississippi Valley State, one might have expected the Alcorn Lady Braves to come out looking for blood in their next game.

But Alcorn started slow against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, trailing 11-10 with 9:41 remaining in the first half.

That was the last time the Lady Braves had to worry. Alcorn’s LaToya Wily put back a missed shot with 8:21 to go and Alcorn took the lead for good before taking a 72-37 win Monday.

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&uot;In the first half we played to their potential,&uot; Alcorn center Rasaan Powell said. &uot;We stepped it up in the second half. We should’ve been up. If you get beat, you’re supposed to punish the next team.&uot;

When the Lady Braves finally got going, it was something to watch.

Alcorn (9-5, 5-1) beat the Lady Lions (2-12, 0-5) to get back on track after the loss to Valley. The Lady Braves dominated the game in just about every phase of the game, outrebounding, outshooting Pine Bluff from the field, the arc and the free-throw line, giving up fewer turnovers and controlling the flow of play.

It wasn’t until minutes before halftime the Lady Braves woke up and kicked things into gear. Alcorn broke the game open with a 14-2 run to end the first half. With the run, the Lady Braves took a 36-16 advantage into halftime.

Pine Bluff’s propensity to give the ball back to Alcorn on what seemed like nearly every possession was all the Lady Braves needed to get going. The Lady Lions turned the ball over seven times during the run. Pine Bluff failed to score in the final 4:34 before halftime, carving out a deficit they wouldn’t be able to overcome.

&uot;We work hard mentally to get into the flow of the game. I like to run, and I like intensity,&uot; Alcorn head coach Shirley Walker said. &uot;It took a little while to get into that, but we came out with a victory.&uot;

On several occasions Alcorn cost itself scoring chances with its habit of turning the ball over particularly in the early going. Fortunately for the Lady Braves, the Lady Lions were only too eager to return the favor.

Pine Bluff had 26 turnovers in the first half, more than most teams average for a game. Those turnovers, and the resulting easy baskets for Alcorn, were the difference in the game.

Alcorn’s Natasha Dennis took full advantage, grabbing four steals and getting some easy scores off of those steals. Dennis was 5-for-9 shooting in the game before leaving early in the second half with cramps.

Both teams suffered from an acute case of the turnovers. Alcorn finished with 23, UAPB 38. The difference was that Alcorn got 13 more points off those turnovers and was considerably more effective in its half-court sets.

What was even worse for Pine Bluff, many of their turnovers weren’t even forced. The Lady Lions simply made mistakes for no discernible reason.

&uot;It wasn’t even really what Alcorn did,&uot; Pine Bluff head coach Angela Daniels said. &uot;We just threw the ball away.&uot;

The second half looked more like an extended practice session than a conference game. Alcorn’s backups got ample opportunity to work on their game in the blowout.

Tnonealyer Powers, who has missed time recently with an injury to her right knee, played most of the second half and looked strong despite a brace on her knee. Powers ran the floor well and had an impressive block on Pine Bluff’s Brittany Morgan.

&uot;It was her first game back, and I was proud to see her make plays, spinning and running the floor,&uot; Walker said. &uot;She got a little tired, but she played well.&uot;

But even as Powers returns, Alcorn has two other players hurting. Point guard Tanika Nunez left the game in the first half and was transported to a local hospital with an unknown illness. Powell played the whole game despite also feeling ill.