HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State’s 21st-ranked women’s basketball team has pushed its winning streak to 12.
Morgan Smith poured in a game-high 19 points, Haven Albright scored 16 and the Lady Lions successfully tuned up for conference action with a 66-54 victory over Motlow State at Tom Drake Coliseum on Thursday night.
“After what happened last year in the state semifinals, I’ve heard some whispers this week about Gadsden State, Gadsden State. This was a trap game of some sorts because our players are really looking forward to starting conference play Tuesday night. I think we did overlook Motlow State a little bit because we beat them in Tennessee earlier this season. Once we settled in, I thought we matched up well defensively,” said Wallace State women’s coach Ron Burdette. “I’m proud of where we are at. We are plugging along. The real season starts Tuesday night at Gadsden State, and we’ve got to be prepared.”
Wallace State’s women continue to dominate at Tom Drake Coliseum during the regular season. After Thursday’s triumph, the Lady Lions (16-1) are 7-0 at home this season and have prevailed in 20 consecutive regular-season tilts on their home floor since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign.
Wallace State has also won 31 of 35 games dating back to Jan. 1, 2014.
“That’s a great number and testament to the hard work our players put in. I’ve been part of this in some capacity for the last 12 years. Coach (Larry) Slater pretty much built this program. We just try to recruit quality players and tell them it’s important to get an education before you leave,” said Burdette, who’s in his fourth season as the head coach. “If we win some games along the way, it’s great.”
Wallace State began Thursday’s contest with a 15-4 lead over the opening seven minutes and led 26-16 with 7:45 to go in the first half. Motlow State responded with a 12-2 run to things at 28-all with 5:11 remaining.
Wallace State scored the final five points of the first half, getting three points from BreAnna Thompson and a layup from Albright, for a 33-28 advantage at intermission.
The Lady Lions came out firing 3’s to begin the second half. Smith started the 3-point barrage on Wallace State’s opening possession and Albright followed with back-to-back 3’s, quickly pushing the Lady Lions’ cushion to 42-30 with 17:57 left in the game.
Wallace State pulled away from there, making it 53-35 with 9:35 to go after a Thompson layup. The Lady Lions led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
Thompson added 10 points to Wallace State’s attack, Kaneisha Mixon scored seven and Hannah Black contributed seven.
Sabrina Jackson led Motlow State in the loss with 15 points. The Lady Bucks hung around in the first half behind six 3-pointers.
Wallace State notched its second win of the year over Motlow State after prevailing 79-62 on Nov. 25 in Tullahoma, Tenn.
Wallace State earned the top seed in last year’s conference tournament as the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) North Division champions, but the Lady Lions fell in the tournament semis to Gadsden State.
Burdette’s club gets an early shot at revenge when Wallace State opens league play at Gadsden State on Tuesday night.
Motlow State 84, Wallace State 68
Wallace State forward Richard Smith scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough for the Lions to avoid a non-conference season sweep against Motlow State at Tom Drake Coliseum on Thursday night.
Motlow State outscored Wallace State 53-37 in the second half after a 31-all tie at halftime. The Bucks opened the second half on a 14-4 run, grabbing a 45-35 advantage with 14:30 to go in the game.
Wallace State trimmed its deficit down to five points with 10:45 left, but Motlow State pulled away for good over the final nine minutes of the game.
Linwood Ruffin scored eight points for Wallace State (9-9) in the loss, Tyrell Clary had seven and Sidney Knox added six.
Motlow State had four players finish with double figures. Jaylen Bradford led the way with 20 points, Daquan Miller had 18 and Reggie Williams and Greg Mason scored 10 points apiece for the Bucks, who defeated the Lions in Tennessee on Nov. 25.
Wallace State never led in the game, but Ruffin tied things up at 31-all with a runner off the glass as time expired in the first half.
Wallace State also begins conference play at Gadsden State on Tuesday night.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
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