By Justin Rust

By Justin Rust

Of the Commercial Staff

Arkansas-Pine Bluff could never recover from a disastrous start to the game Monday against Jackson State.

The Lady Lions were able to hang around at the end of the game, though, but still lost to Jackson State 59-51 at H.O. Clemmons Arena.

The key stat in the game was shooting percentage. The Lady Lions took 17 more shots than Jackson State, but made six fewer shots.

Jackson State (8-10, 5-4 SWAC) made 22-of-44 shots for 50 percent, while UAPB (0-20, 0-9) finished 16-of-61 from the field for 26 percent.

“Rough shooting night,” UAPB coach Cary Shelton said. “(Jackson State) sat in that zone, packed it in and just dared us to shoot it from outside.”

The loss is UAPB’s 32nd-straight loss dating back to last year. That is the longest losing streak in all of NCAA Division I.

The Lady Lions got off to about as bad of a start as they could. UAPB was 0-12 from the field and did not make its first field goal until the 10:52 mark of the game.

Jackson State got out to a 13-2 lead before Lakendra Marsh knocked down a jumper.

“We just came out dead, no intensity, no energy,” said UAPB’s Chi Chi Okwumbua, who scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. “We spotted them 11 points and that kind of thing held us back a little bit.”

The first three shots of the game by UAPB were air balls, as well.

“Sluggish, no intensity, no energy,” Shelton said. “Certainly we told the team they can’t spot them 11 points.”

The Lady Lions recovered to go on an 8-0 run to make it 28-21 with 1:29 left, but Jackson State went into halftime with a 32-21 lead.

UAPB tried to keep the game within reach in the second half and was able to make it 54-49 Jackson State with 1:23 left on a 5-0 run, but Christina Lasane missed a jumper and Rachel Jones made a couple of free throws to stop the run.

UAPB made just one more shot in the five 52 seconds as Jackson State held on for the 59-51 win.

The Lady Lions lost despite forcing 22 turnovers, but only turned those into 18 points.

“We forced the right turnovers, and we should’ve had a lot more,” Shelton said.

Even though UAPB struggled from the field, it made 18-of-21 free throws, including a perfect 13-of-13 from Okwumabua.

Shelton said the team should have had more than 21 free-throw attempts.

“The truth of the matter, we weren’t attacking more,” he said. “We went to the line 21 times and we should’ve went 39 times. We just went away from attacking.”

Marsh added eight points, five assists and five steals for UAPB.