Women's Hoops Rings in the New Year Closing Non-Conference Play with a Win
Dec. 31, 2003
San Antonio, Tex. - The Otahkians took an early 7-0 lead and ran with it 'til the end, toping Alcorn State 73-63 at the UTSA Classic. As Southeast's lead began to falter in the second, junior guard Sami Jo Cotton came to the rescue with four treys and 16 second half points to ensure Southeast a win.
Southeast jumped out to an early lead, running the floor with fast-break after fast-break. Costello sparked the offense with a steal on the defensive end and a run for the basket. Next it was Brown with the fast-break points as the Otahkians went on a 7-0 run.
The Otahkians then used another 7-point unanswered run to capture their largest lead of the half, 15 points. Two beautiful Brandi Russia assists to Sidbury and Brown for the backdoor put-ins capped off the run, at 29-14 Southeast.
Alcorn capitalized on several Otahkian mental errors to cut the lead back down to only 11 points at the half, 36-25. Southeast ran the court hard, but rushed the offensive a little much creating 16 turnovers in the half. Their turnovers cost them 13 Alcorn points, while Southeast recorded seven points off nine Lady Brave turnovers.
Leading the Otahkian squad early was senior Yashika Sibubury, shooting four-of-five from the floor and 1-of-2 from 3-point territory, totaling nine points. Brown followed closely behind with 8 first half points and five boards.
Southeast seemed to pull out of their four game shooting slump early as they shot 48.3 percent from the field and limited the Lady Braves to only 31.3 percent.
ASU came out from the lockers recharged and ready to play. They used several possessions to cut to the Southeast lead to six early in the half. Sidbury and Costello pushed the Otahkian lead back to 13 points with 13:29 left. Sidbury pumped in nine points off the bat and Costello used two back-to-back, coast-to-coast drives to chip in four.
The Lady Braves answered back again with a seven point run as the Otahkians got in foul trouble early. At the end of Alcorn's run at 10:23, Southeast had committed nine team fouls, while Alcorn had only two. But Cotton hit two big three's to put the Otahkians on top 12. Then as Southeast's lead had dwindled to nine with just over four to go, it was Cotton again with another pair of back-to-back three's to put Southeast up 67-54 with 3:45 to go.
Southeast almost held their third opponent without a three-pointer, but with 44 seconds on the clock Alcorn State's Tiffaney Smith drained the trey as Southeast had trouble breaking the press down the final stretch as the Lady Braves narrowed it to six with 32 seconds left. The Otahkians held on to top ASU 73-63.
Cotton's 16 second-half points combined with her three points in the first, earned the game-high and her career high 19 points on an amazing performance. Cotton also added three assists and three boards. Sidbury followed right behind with 18 points. Costello chipped in another nine points and four assists, while Brown added eight points and 12 rebounds.
Leading the way for the Lady Braves was LaToya Johnson with 17 points. Tnonealyer Powers and Candace Roberts fought hard, bringing down 10 boards a piece, but it wasn't enough to top Southeast. The Otahkians out rebounded the Lady Braves by seven on the afternoon.
Southeast closed the game shooting 43.9 percent from the field, while holding Alcorn to a 35.3 percent shooting performance.
With the close of non-conference competition, the squad will return to the Show Me Center to host conference rival Austin Peay on January 8. Southeast is the pre-season favorite to win the OVC, while APSU was selected to finish second, receiving just one less first place vote than the Otahkians. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.