It was a slow start for both Lady Tiger squads in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center as the combined score at the end of the first quarter for the teams was only 37, but things began to change as assists and shots from guard Shakyla Hill helped give Grambling State University the momentum they needed.
That momentum led into the second half of the game and didn’t stop as the final score was 79-58 as GSU (8-10, 5-2 SWAC) won.
At halftime, Grambling was down by 3, 38-35. Guard Jazmin Boyd put up 12 points with Hill behind her having nine. Derrica Wiggins of Jackson State had 13 points.
The second half of the game was a different setting for Grambling as Darae Taylor shot consecutive baskets along with Boyd, giving the Lady Tigers just what they needed: a lead. An impressive combined run with a basket by Boyd, rebound from John’ea Thompson from a JSU ball, and assist from Monisha Neal to Chantiara Lewis to shoot two points put Coach Nadine Domond’s squad in an untouchable state as they were up by as many as 22 with 4:30 minutes remaining in the game.
Four of Domond’s players were in double digits in points: Boyd with 18 and four rebounds, Hill with 17 and six rebounds, Lewis with 13 and six rebounds and Thompson with 12 and eight rebounds.
“We stuck to the game plan. Darae Taylor came out with a lot of energy. Our defense was our offense. This was a big game for us. If we didn’t take care of business we would have been in a situation where we would be fighting to be where we are. Right now we kind of control our destiny, by taking care of things we can take control of,” said Domond.
Both men’s teams struggled for the most part of the first half, as the highest Grambling shot of their field goals was 25% and Jackson State shot 35.3%. In the first half alone, Grambling had a total of 21 turnovers and were just unable to connect with the 48 attempted shots they took. In the end, JSU won, 60-45.
At halftime GSU was down by 6, 26-20. Both Michael Bethea Jr. and Ervin Mitchell had five points while Javeres Brent, Raeford Worsham and Janarius Middleton of Jackson State all had six points.
The men’s team of Grambling worked tirelessly to come back and close the gap in points, but the attempt failed as missed shots and turnovers gave Jackson State an advantage to work against them and to also win the game 60-45. Mark Gray was the team leader in points with nine and eight rebounds followed by Mitchell with eight points and four rebounds. Brent of Jackson State finished the game with 21 points.
The Lady Tigers and Tigers (6-13 overall, 3-4 SWAC) will play the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Sat. Jan. 30 in Pine Bluff, Ark.
The women will play at 5 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.