The University of South Alabama women's basketball team advances to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 87-74 overtime win over the Troy Trojans on Thursday afternoon at the Lakefront Arena.
South Alabama outscored the Trojans 18-5 in overtime to seal the win and advance to the first semifinal appearance since 2009. Shaforia Kines hit two big threes at the start of the fourth quarter and overtime to set the tone for the Jaguars. Kines went for a game-high 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists.
The Jags move to 23-9 on the season, and have won 23 games for the first time since the 1986-87 season.
"First of all, we didn't expect anything less than that from a Troy-South Alabama game. It's that type of game – the physicality, the competition level – every time we play. The game played out just like I said it would. I told our team if we can keep rebounds close, we didn't have to win the rebounding battle," said head coach Terry Fowler. "It was 54-46 and we would have an opportunity to do it. (I) wasn't pleased with the first half. They had 14 offensive rebounds and 13 points off of that. (I) thought we did a better job in the second half in key situations, maybe not throughout.
"We had to tighten up our pick-and-roll coverage, and we did that midway through the second half. We were able to just stop it, and (I) thought we did a great job of executing on the offensive end, getting the ball inside to Antoinette (Lewis). She was able to play off of it. We were able to kick back out to Shay, and we just had great contributions from everybody today. I couldn't be more proud of this group."
The Jaguars got off to a hot start in the first quarter this afternoon. The Jaguars shot 60 percent from the floor in the quarter, and redshirt junior, Christen Carter went 5-for-5 in the first and 6-for-6 to start the game. Carter went for a career-high 19 points and brought in four rebounds.
"The first couple of shots went in. One of the things we've been trying to tell her is, she's been taking some three's and things. Hey, get in your shooting range – get your rhythm shots. Those are the shots she can make," Fowler said. "I thought today it was a one-two step shot, and once she hit her first two, it started feeling good. She took shots that she makes. She makes those in practice. (She) played within herself. We rode the wave with her the first half, especially with Antoinette out of the game."
Troy battled back in the second quarter and outpaced the Jaguars 24-14 to head into halftime up by one. The second half featured a back-and-forth battle between the two programs. The game saw nine ties and 11 lead changes until the Jaguars took the final lead with a Kines three that made it 73-71 with four minutes to play in overtime.
South Alabama had four scorers in double figures in today's effort. Kines led the team with her 23, Carter second with 19, Antoinette Lewis had 15 points and 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season, and Jayla Morrow had 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting off the bench.