Hungry for their first conference win, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Lady Lions defeated the Alabama A&M University Lady Bulldogs 61-57 Monday night at home. UAPB Head Coach Nate Kilbert was pleased that his team was able to show grit and pull this one out.
"It's a great feeling with it being a nail-biter like it was," Kilbert said. "It was a great game, and both teams had a tough time in the first half. Down the stretch, we both turned it on, and it seemed like neither team could miss. To get this win before going to Alcorn and Southern means a lot."
The Lady Lions got off to a nice start and held a slim lead after one quarter of play. However, the Lady Bulldogs were able to outscore UAPB 16-8 in the second quarter to take a 23-18 advantage into halftime. The Lady Lions shot poorly in the first half, as they were 6-35 from the field. Since the Lady Lions weren't shooting well, Kilbert put emphasis on crashing the boards.
"My only problem with the first half was we weren't making shots," Kilbert said. "We had to crash the offensive boards more to give ourselves a second chance. That got us going in the second half as we got more opportunities."
Senior Forward Niya Head took that advice and helped the Lady Lions open up a 15-point lead in the third quarter. UAPB finished the game with 20 second chance points, and Head finished the game with 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Lions on the boards.
Even though the Lady Lions were able to build a nice lead, the Lady Bulldogs were still able to fight back. Late in the fourth quarter, AAMU reclaimed the lead, but the Lady Lions showed their will and outplayed them down the stretch. Malaik Muhammad knocked down a jumper to put the game out of reach, giving Kilbert and the Lady Lions a reason to celebrate.
"This ain't the kind of game that a coach wishes for but I'm happy for the win," Kilbert said. "They took a five point lead late and we showed character. We had players like Brewton and Head step up in crunch time and that's great. We should gain confidence from a win like this."
Along with Head, point guard Destiny Brewton was big for the Lady Lions. Brewton led the team in scoring with 14 points, and she also dished out four assists. Head recorded a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lady Lions now will attempt to gain their first conference road win on Saturday as they travel to take on the Southern University Lady Jaguars.