By Alcorn State Department of Athletics
GRAMBLING, La. – Backed by a strong double-double performance from Deja Mitchell, the Alcorn State University women’s basketball team posted a 61-58 win at Grambling State in Southwestern Athletic Conference play inside Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center Tuesday night.
Mitchell put together another big night with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead all players in both categories. Cayla Obillo added 10 points and both Kirdis Clark and Aja Wheeler tallied six points apiece. In all, Alcorn (2-5, 2-1 SWAC) had twelve players score at least two points. Six players scored at least five points with LaRae Rascoe and Nia McCalphia adding five points apiece. Quintasia Leatherwood had a team-high four assists. Mitchell and Nia McCalphia added three steals apiece.
The Lady Braves took advantage on points off turnovers (25-17) and steals (18-10), along with making 16 more free throws (21-5).
Grambling State (2-4, 1-1 SWAC) opened the scoring nearly a minute in before Alcorn countered with the next seven points to jump out to the early advantage. Diamond Hall hit a pair from the line, Obillo hit a jumper and after two at the line from Clark, another free throw by Hall capped the run leaving the Lady Braves with a 7-2 lead midway through the opening quarter.
The teams would tie a couple more times over the remainder of the quarter before a Wheeler jumper at the end of the first 10 minutes pushed Alcorn to the 11-9 lead.
Kailyn Watkins started the second quarter in style stretching the lead back to five with a three-pointer 20 seconds in for the 14-9 lead. The Lady Tigers fought back to take the lead at 19-18, but a quick 4-0 run by Mitchell had Alcorn back in front. Tyginae Wright closed the scoring on a defensive battle through the first half with a jumper to leave Alcorn with the 26-23 lead at the break.
With Alcorn still holding a three-point lead early in the third quarter, Grambling State responded with a 6-0 run to jump out to their biggest lead of the night at 33-28. Out of an Alcorn timeout, the Lady Braves responded with Rascoe hitting a jumper, Mitchell adding a layup and a jumper by Aysha Kirkland gave Alcorn their own 6-0 run to jump back ahead 34-33.
It would remain close the remainder of the quarter before a Rascoe jumper left Alcorn with the 43-41 advantage.
During the final frame, Alcorn looked to be in control holding a trio of seven-point leads, the first at 50-43 on a free throw by Obillo, then on a layup by Mitchell at 54-47 and one last time at 56-49 on an Obillo jumper with three minutes to play. That setup what would be a wild ending over the final few minutes. Grambling State scored the next five points to trim the lead down to two with just over a minute to play. That setup a big possession when a pair of offensive rebounds eventually led to a layup by Mitchell to extend the lead back to four at 58-54 with a minute to play.
Leah Morrow answered for the Lady Tigers with a jumper to trim the lead back to two. With 33 seconds to play, Obillo would be fouled and would split a pair at the line to move the lead back to three at 59-56. After the teams traded turnovers, a jumper by Alexus Holt pulled Grambling State to within one at 59-58 with 10 seconds to play. Obillo would be fouled again and after splitting the foul shots to push the lead back to two, Holt missed a potential game-tying jumper that was rebounded by Hall. Obillo would split two more from the line to move the lead to three and a last-second shot by Justice Coleman was blocked by Clark to secure the win for the Lady Braves.
Alcorn went 19-47 (40.4) from the field, 2-13 (15.4) from three and 21-35 (60) from the foul line. Grambling State went 25-57 (43.9) from the field, 3-13 (23.1) from three and 5-12 (41.7) from the foul line. Candice Parramore led the Lady Tigers with 11 points, while Brandi Washington added 10 points. Coleman and Ariel Williams each grabbed eight rebounds, while Holt had a game-high six assists.
The Lady Braves will return home this coming Saturday afternoon when they will face Mississippi Valley State beginning at 3 p.m. inside Davey L. Whitney Complex.