The 2013 Tuskegee University women’s basketball team ended their season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Friday with a final loss to the same opponent that gave them their first loss of the season. The Lady Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville move on to play against Delta State University in the second round on Saturday with a 78-69 win against the Tigerettes on Friday. For Tuskegee, the #2 seed in the South Regional coached by Belinda Roby ends their season with a final record of 19-8.
|Looks of disdain were on the faces of Coach Belinda Roby and TU Senior Nnenna Eze following the Golden Tigerettes' first round loss to UAH on Friday in Fort Lauderdale.
Although UAH looked like it would cruise to a route of the Tigerettes, Tuskegee stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the second half to tie the game twice, with the first time coming from a layup by Amelia Dorton to make the game 57-57 with 7:23 remaining in the contest. The game was tied again with under five minutes remaining, when Dorton hit the back end of a pair of free throws. But, Tuskegee could never take the lead in the game, and the Tigerettes faded down the stretch.
Roby said that she was proud of the way that the Tigerettes played in the second half, but that they just had too big of a hole to climb back from.
”I thought we played an outstanding second half,” Roby said. “Of course, we dug ourselves a hole in the first half. But, we made some adjustments in the locker room at halftime and came out to do exactly what we wanted to do for at least 13 minutes in the second half to tie the game up. We just had a couple of mental letdowns in the final minutes of the game. Then, of course, our free throws – some key free throws hurt us too.”
Roby said that the team’s mindset all season was to play hard, no matter the circumstances. So, that is what she told her girls in the locker room at halftime, when they were trailing by a score of 44-27.
“Well, for one thing, it’s not over until it’s over,” Roby said. “So, we just made some adjustments on defense, and that pretty much carried us in the second half. We just adjusted on defense and decided to do something different. It looked like fatigue had set in with them. Of course, it did with us too, because we had to fight so hard to get back in it.”
For Alabama-Huntsville, the Chargers have made school history over the last couple of weeks by winning the Gulf South Conference Tournament for the first time in school history, and earned their first NCAA Tournament win in school history today with a win over the Tigerettes. Jordan Smith led all scorers, with a game-high 18 points to go with six rebounds. She was one of four Lady Chargers to score in double-figures, and Halle Jarnagin had the only double-double for the team (11 points and ten rebounds).
Tuskegee finished their final game of the season with five players scoring in double figures. Kajuanna Rivers was one of three TU players to score 12 points, as she had three steals to go with her point total. Amelia Dorton also had 12 point and three steals to go with four assists, and Nnenna Eze finished her final game in a Tuskegee uniform with the team’s only double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Eze expressed disappointment with the way her career at Tuskegee ended, but did not have any shame in the way that she played.
“[My mindset was] just to play hard,” Eze said. “Unfortunately, this is my last game, so I just wanted to go out and leave it all on the floor.”
Marie McAbee led all TU players in scoring, with 13 points, and Alannah Vincent had 11 points to go with three steals and four rebounds.