Lady Statesmen advance to GSC Finals
by Andy Collier
Mar 09, 2014 | 926 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Delta State University Lady Statesmen earned the right to play for their 16th Gulf South Conference Title in school history, as they defeated the University of North Alabama Lady Lions 66-58 in the semifinals of the GSC Tournament Saturday at the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.

DSU (24-4) will play West Florida in the title game today at 1 p.m. West Florida beat West Georgia 66-63 to advance to the title game. DSU will also be making its 22n appearance to the title game, while West Florida is making its first trip to the finals since 1998 and second overall.

The game Saturday wasn’t an easy one for DSU. In the first half, The Lady Statesmen fell into a big hole early, as they trailed the Lady Lions 20-9 with 8:53 left before halftime. As the half progressed, the Lady Statesmen began to battle back. Seneca Walton, Shanae Govan and Becca Ruckes hit some key buckets with Chelsey Rhodes hitting two free throws to cut the Lady Lions’ lead down to 22-17 with 6:39 left in the half. As the half came to a close, Anissa Jackson hit two free throws, and Rhodes hit a jump shot to help cut the UNA lead down to 29-25 going into the locker room at halftime.

In the second half, the Lady Statesmen continued their good play as Walton and Rhodes each hit jump shots to tie the game at 29-29. North Alabama’s Corinne White put the Lady Lions back on top with a three-pointer, but the Lady Statesmen answered back as Rhodes nailed a basket and a free throw to tie the game back up at 32-32 with 16:23 left to play. DSU finally took the lead with 15:48 on the clock as Rhandi Ball hit a free throw for a 33-32 advantage.

After Ball’s free throw, the game went back and forth as the lead changed hands on a few occasions. Trailing 51-49, DSU was able to go on a 5-0 run as Rhodes hit a jumper and a free throw, while Walton hit two free throws to make the score 54-51 in favor of DSU with 4:38 left in the game.

North Alabama wasn’t done as White nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 54-54 with 4:25 remaining in the contest. White’s three-pointer would be the last chance the Lady Lions had to win as DSU went on a 12-4 run to close out the game.

Rhodes had a monster game by scoring 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the floor to lead the Lady Statesmen, followed by Walton with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Govan with seven points, four rebounds and three steals.

White led the Lady Lions with 15 points, followed by Janae Lyde with 13 points and nine assists.