Second quarter blitz leads LSUA to first victory of season

Amani Gray tallied 18 points and dished out 10 assists
Amani Gray tallied 18 points and dished out 10 assists(Cameron Mosely, LSUA Sports Media)
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 9:08 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (LSUA) - The first one is always sweet. Especially when it is the opening of Red River Athletic Conference play.

LSUA (1-9 overall, 1-0 RRAC) used a scoring barrage in the second quarter to find the win column for the first time in the 2021-22 season, as it knocked off Texas A&M-Texarkana 75-63 on Thursday evening at The Fort.

“It feels great to get our first win,” Brittney Smith said. “We’ve just been working really hard and we had a couple bumps in the road, but we’ve got it together now and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The Generals outscored the Eagles (2-8, 0-1) 30-10 in the second frame to break open the game and give the home team a 22-point lead at intermission.

In the quarter, LSUA shot 73.7 percent from the field, compared to just 26.7 percent for the Eagles.

Aaliyah Williams scored all eight of her points in the quarter, making all four shots she attempted. Freshman Amani Gray also scored eight in the quarter en route to a team-high 18 points to go along with 10 assists for her first career double-double.

“Obviously that second quarter was the key stretch of the game,” LSUA Women’s Basketball Coach Bob Austin said. “We received contributions from multiple players and that helped us get going.

“The way we shot and played defensively, I don’t think there’s any doubt that was our best quarter of the season.”

She was one shy of her season-high of 19, which she set in the only other home game for the Generals thus far against Wayland Baptist.

Gray’s 10 assists were part of 29 on the game, the most since the Generals registered 30 almost two years ago to the day.

“We played team ball,” Gray said. “Once we started playing team ball, you saw the result tonight. We won.”

Brittney Smith joined Gray with a double-double, which both occurred on a pass late in the game to avoid the press and Gray threw it ahead to Smith for the basket to push Smith’s point total to 11 to go along with her game-high 12 rebounds.

Despite being a smaller team, the Generals grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and posted a 51-47 overall rebounding edge.

Raegan Ojoro nearly cracked a double-double too, falling one rebound shy, but scored 15 points, which were second on the team.

Ojoro and Smith were tasked with controlling TAMUT’s Naomi Tekleab, who had dominated the Generals last season. Tekleab was held to 11 points on just 3-of-13 shooting.

Kelsey Thaxton (10) was the other Generals player to hit double figures.

TAMUT made its push in the third quarter, scoring 15 of the quarter’s first 19 points to cut the deficit to 11. In the quarter, the Eagles held the Generals to just 11.1 percent shooting (3-for-27), but LSUA’s defense kept them with a double digit lead, holding the Eagles to just 35.3 percent.

The Generals finished the game shooting 55.6 percent in the final quarter to keep TAMUT at arm’s length, as the Eagles shot 57.9 percent in the final period.

“While we struggled to hit anything in the third quarter, I like the way we responded in the fourth,” Austin said. “They cut the deficit to 10 points a few times, but every time it happened, we hit a big shot to push the lead further.”

Yasmine Arogunjo led all scorers with 19 points for the Eagles, while Morgan Strawder poured in 17 points.

At the moment, LSUA plays on the road against Wiley on Saturday to begin the conference road slate. The Generals next are at The Fort on Jan. 20 against Xavier, a new addition to the RRAC.

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