MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Shakyla Hill scored 20 of her game-high 32 points in the second half as the Grambling State University women’s basketball team outlasted Alabama State and spoiled the Lady Hornets’ Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opener with an 80-72 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
Grambling State (4-9 overall, 1-0 SWAC) led 17-15 at the one quarter and outscored Alabama State in the second, 23-17, to take a 40-32 advantage into the half. The Lady Hornets (1-11, 0-1) outscored Grambling State, 22-16, and closed the gap to 22-16 to set the stage for an exciting fourth quarter.
Hill, who played all 40 minutes, led all scorers with 32 points, on 10-of-26 shooting from the floor, but was 12-of-14 from, the free-throw line. She also added six rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Justice Coleman registered 13 points, eight boards, two assists, and two steals, while Camryn London recorded a career-high 13 points, including four 3-pointers, along with three rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Ayana Emmanuel paced Alabama State with 30 points, on 10-of-13 from the field, along with three rebounds and one steal. Jayla Crawford tallied 18 points, two boards, one assist, and one steal, while Shmya Ward registered 17 points, five rebounds, three blocks, one steal, and one assist.
Gambling State led by a slim, 17-15, margin at the end of one period, took a 25-20 advantage after a Camryn Long 3-pointer with 6:50 remaining in the first half. Alabama State closed the gap to 26-24 after two free throws by Ayana Emmanuel with 5:48 left, but the Lady Tigers pushed the margin to 30-26 after another trey by London with just over five minutes remaining.
The Lady Hornets cut the deficit to 30-28 with an Emmanuel layup, but Grambling State closed out the first half on a 10-4 run to take a 40-32 advantage into the break. The Lady Tigers led 44-36, after a free throw by Justice Coleman with 7:48 remaining in the third, but the Lady Hornets continued to keep the game close and cut the deficit to 56-54 heading into the final period.
Alabama State tied the game at 60 with 6:40 left after a pair of free throws by Jayla Crawford, but Grambling State used a 12-5 run, capped on a Shakyla Hill bucket, to give the Lady Tigers a 72-65 lead with 1:59 remaining. The Lady Hornets closed the gap to 75-72 after a Crawford layup with 31 seconds left. However, that would be as close as Alabama State would get as Hill four out of the final five points to give Grambling State the 80-72 victory.