ALEXANDRIA, La (LSUA) - As the #23 LSUA women’s basketball team bid farewell to four seniors playing in their final home game, newcomer Danyale Bayonne made history by breaking the Generals’ single season scoring record as LSUA rallied in the second half for an 86-73 win over the Southwest Mustangs Saturday afternoon at The Fort.
The Generals jumped right out to start the game as Tamia Hewitt won the tip, immediately got on the low block, got the ball from Brittany Hall and scored to give LSUA a quick 2-0 lead just seconds into the contest.
But it would be Southwest that controlled the flow throughout most of the first quarter, slowing things down and getting the Generals out of their rhythm and taking the lead. With the Mustangs leading 9-7, a Naomi Solsberry bucket was the first two points of an 8-2 Southwest push that gave the Mustangs a 17-9 lead following a pair of Solsberry free throws with 3:52 left in the period. LSUA scored the next two buckets to cut it to four points as a Danyale Bayonne lay-up made it 17-13 with 1:45 left, but USW scored seven of the period’s final nine points to take a nine point lead into the second quarter, 24-15.
Following the excitement of the senior day festivities that happened pregame, the Generals started the settle in at the start of the second quarter and slowly whittle down the Mustang lead. The work finally paid off with the lead as E’layzha Bates took in a pass from Natalie Alaniz, spun to the rim and scored while being fouled. She would complete the three-point play to give the Generals a 40-39 lead with 2:03 left before halftime. However, Southwest would take the lead into the halftime locker room, 44-42.
Kelsey Thaxton hit a three-pointer right out of the break to give the Generals the lead back to start the second half, but again Southwest had an answer, going on an 11-5 push to get their advantage back up to five points at Tytilayo Green hit a jumper to make it 55-50 Mustangs with less than 5:40 left in the third quarter. But that’s where the Generals started to take control, scoring ten of the next 12 points to take the lead for good as Courtney Dawsey hit a three pointer, and stole the ball and drew two free throws, which she converted, to put LSUA up 60-57. After a couple possessions of trading points, the Generals started to pull away to close the period as Danyale Bayonne hit a pair of free throws started a 7-0 LSUA run to finish off the third as Bayonne’s bucket with just seconds left gave the Generals their largest lead of the game at that point, 69-61, heading to the fourth quarter.
The run continued to start the fourth, moving to a 9-0 spurt as Aja Law laid the ball in just seconds into the period for the first double digit lead of the night at 71-61.
Danyale Bayonne’s record-breaking moment came with just more than seven minutes left in the game as she got the ball following a blocked shot, picked her moment and attacked the paint, driving past the Mustang defense for a lay-up for her 438th point of the season, surpassing Katie Lemieux’s single season record from last season, and giving the Generals a 73-64 lead. A couple possessions later, Bayonne did it again, getting to the rim and scoring, this time while being fouled. She would convert the and-1 opportunity to make it 76-66 Generals. The Mustangs would cut the lead down to seven at one point down the stretch, but would not make any real run to steal the game as the Generals closed out the win.
“It was a big night for our program all around,” said LSUA head coach Bob Austin. “We got to watch our much-loved manager, Whitney Jacobs, take the homecoming crown, and then Danyale continues to do what she does. Unfortunately for Katie Lemieux, she lost two crowns tonight, the homecoming queen crown and her single season points scored crown, but I’m sure she’s happy with who she handed both to. But one player I have to praise tonight is Kaitlyn Kropog. What she did tonight doesn’t show up on a stat sheet, but she hustled and fought and her effort was really key in slowing down their offense and causing turnovers. Hitting 20 wins is a plateau we’ve never reached, so we know this is a monumental step for our program in getting recognition as we try to extend our season beyond just the conference tournament.”
On her record breaking night, Danyale Bayonne came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 22 points. Courtney Dawsey ended her night with 19 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Kelsey Thaxton rounded out the leading scorers with 12 points, all coming on four made three-pointers. On her senior night, E’Layzha Bates finished the game with nine points, four rebounds, a block and a steal. Brittany Hall stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, eight rebounds, and eight steals.
It was a consistent night for the Generals as LSUA hit on 45.5% from the field in the contest, hanging around that number in both halves. Eight of LSUA’s 30 made shots in the game came from beyond the arc, and LSUA connected on 18 of its 23 attempts from the free throw line. Southwest (6-16, 3-12 RRAC) hit on 41.8% of their shots and made five three pointers of their own. Turnovers were key in LSUA’s victory as the Generals outscored the Mustangs 23-15 in points off turnovers.
Due to results elsewhere, the Generals (20-4, 13-2 RRAC) moved into a tie for first place in the RRAC standings with just three games remaining and control of their own destiny to the top seed in the upcoming RRAC Tournament. The Generals close out the regular season with three tough games on the road, starting on Friday as LSUA heads to Austin, Texas to take on Huston-Tillotson. Tip-off against the Rams (14-6, 9-5 RRAC) is set for 5:30 P.M. at Mary Branch Gymnasium.