Shorthanded Lady Lions fall to Jackson State

UAPB guard Jelissa Reese (5) attempts a midair pass while guarded by Jackson State guard Areyanna Hunter (20) during Monday night's women's basketball game at H.O. Clemmons Arena in Pine Bluff. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
UAPB guard Jelissa Reese (5) attempts a midair pass while guarded by Jackson State guard Areyanna Hunter (20) during Monday night's women's basketball game at H.O. Clemmons Arena in Pine Bluff. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)

Having to play the SWAC’s top team without one of the league’s best players proved too much Monday night for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The UAPB women’s basketball team fell 72-56 to Jackson State at H.O. Clemmons Arena, ending the Lady Lions’ five-game winning streak.

UAPB (13-11, 8-3 SWAC) guard Zaay Green, who finished Saturday’s game against Alcorn State with a double-double, did not play Monday. Her 16.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game are all team highs, and her assists average was tied for best in the SWAC entering the game.

Lady Lions coach Dawn Thornton said Green injured her knee, and UAPB found out shortly before game time she couldn’t play. Her absence came alongside forward Maori Davenport missing her second-straight game with a concussion.

“I’m not the one to come up with excuses, because by all means, I think that our defense is good enough against any team in this conference without any member if somebody has to miss,” Thornton said. “So, I thought we would have been able to look different with them, but also, those ticky tack fouls that we got early, Maya Peat, Coriah Beck, we really couldn’t get into the flow of what we wanted to do offensively.”


UAPB center Maya Peat (54) attempts a layup over Jackson State defenders Angel Reese (15) and Andriana Avent (24). (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)

 


Thornton said Green would meet with the team doctor Tuesday, and she would know more about Green’s status afterward. UAPB sports information said Davenport is expected to return next week.

The UAPB offense struggled without them. The Lady Lions shot 31.7 percent from the field, which ties their lowest shooting percentage in a SWAC game this season.

UAPB guard Coriah Beck led the Lady Lions with 14 points. Maya Peat scored 11 with nine rebounds, while Azaria Robinson had 10 points and 12 boards. This was Robinson’s second double-double of the season and first in SWAC play. Jelissa Reese also scored 10.

Defensively, UAPB held Jackson State (16-6, 11-0) to 35 percent from the field, and the rebounding battle was almost even. The one gap in the Lady Lions’ defense was the 3-point line, where Jackson State made nine 3-pointers on 22 attempts. JSU also outscored UAPB 20-7 off turnovers.

Thornton said some of UAPB’s turnovers came from second-guessing.

“We want to push the ball,” Thornton said. “We don’t really want to play a slow game, with or without Zaay. We gotta value the ball. A lot of our turnovers were forced trying to get the ball inside to the post or trying to over pass it or overkill it.”

JSU guard Andrianna Avent scored a game-high 20 points, while Ti’lan Boler scored 18. The duo combined for seven 3-pointers.

UAPB started the game well, scoring the first 7 points and forcing JSU to call a timeout. The Lady Tigers responded with a 19-2 run to take control and never trailed again.

UAPB entered the game in second place and remains there with this loss, though the Lady Lions are now tied with Grambling State. JSU further cements its place at the top of the league with a three-game lead on UAPB and GSU as the Lady Tigers eye their fourth-straight regular season SWAC championship.

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