Tigerettes suffer biggest loss of season in upset to Fort Valley State
The Tuskegee Tigerettes chose the most unfortunate time to drop their first game to an SIAC opponent this season, and Fort Valley State University came up with the biggest upset in the women’s side of the first three days of the tournament. The Lady Wildcats posted a 73-71 victory over TU on Wednesday night, likely ending the season for a team that previously won their first 16 games in conference play, did not lose a game since New Year’s Eve, and was the top overall seed heading into this year’s tournament.
|Nnenna Eze had a double-double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but the Tigerettes fell short to Fort Valley State, losing their first game since New Year's Eve, and possibly ending the season.
Tuskegee trailed by as many as nine points in the contest, and did not even manage to get their first lead of the game until 6:10 remaining in the half, when they had a slight edge at 23-22. Down 41-32 with 17 minutes remaining, the Tigerettes rallied to tie the game at 49-49 with 12:05 left. The Tigerettes earned their final lead of the game when Marie McAbee made back-to-back layups to give TU a 71-69 lead with 1:22 left in the game.
For Fort Valley State University, Jayme Gilbert was the game’s leading scorer, as she finished with 21 points and drove 94 feet from opposite baselines to get the game-winning layup at the buzzer. Briana Shepherd also contributed 14 points, and the Lady Wildcats managed to get the victory even though Tuskegee shot a better percentage from the floor for the game (44.6 to 37.5 percent). Marie McAbee led the Tigerettes with 19 points, and Nnenna Eze posted a double-double in likely her final game at Tuskegee, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Amelia Dorton also contributed ten points and six rebounds.
Wednesday’s game was a different result from when these two teams met inside Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Center in Tuskegee, in a game TU won 65-57 on Jan. 10th. Nnenna Eze led the Tigerettes in that game with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Tuskegee denied Fort Valley State’s Lonnie Bartley his first opportunity to win an HBCU record 623 victories in his career.
Fort Valley State will now play the winner of Clark Atlanta University and Claflin University, as that game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tomorrow evening. The Lady Wildcats will play the winner in a game scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m. Fort Valley swept Claflin during the regular season, but dropped both games they played against the Lady Panthers this season, including their final regular season game before the conference tournament.
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