HENDERSON, Tenn. — Down by a 43-28 margin at halftime and trailing by as much as a 48-30 margin with 8:22 to play in the third quarter, the No. 9 Shawnee State women’s basketball team rallied to post arguably its most inspiring victory of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Bears not only held Freed-Hardeman’s leading scorer — Alyssa LeMay — without a basket in the second half, but got massive efforts from Brandie Snow (26 points, eight rebounds), Anyia Pride (career-high 24 points, 11 rebounds) and Carson Roney (17 points, five rebounds) — with Roney’s game-winning putback with 2.4 seconds remaining off of a Snow miss completing a 77-75 triumph at the Freed-Hardeman University Sports Center in Henderson, Tenn.
After allowing Freed-Hardeman to shoot 51.6-percent from the field (16-of-31) in the opening half, Shawnee State made major strides defensively to help secure the contest in its favor — holding the Lions to a 10-of-29 clip (34.5-percent) in the second half.
The No. 9 Bears also asserted their will on the glass, winning the rebounding margin by a 35-29 count and taking advantage of Freed-Hardeman miscues — scoring 16 points off Lions turnover compared to Freed-Hardeman’s scant six-point tally off takeaways.
“We got great effort from our kids in the second half,” SSU head coach Jeff Nickel said. “Unfortunately, we got ourselves in a hole in the first half and got into extremely serious foul trouble. In the first half, that negated what we were doing well. I thought we were doing a good job of attacking what they were doing until we got into the situations we did with the foul count. We still managed to cut it to 15 prior to the end of the half, then in the third quarter defensively, put together a much better effort in the second half. Our offense started flowing, we started playing really well, moving the ball, and Brandie, AP (Anyia Pride) and Carson were able to make plays under control. I thought that Abbie Kallner and Bethany Mackin played stellar defense in the second half, and helped us win the game.”
Pride produces in big
Needing a greater lift offensively, Pride helped give Shawnee State the shot in the arm that it needed.
Playing under control throughout the contest and remaining on the attack, Pride posted a strong 13-point outing in the opening half — and helping keep Shawnee State hovering around.
The junior from Cincinnati then continued her efficiency inside, posting an 11-point, eight-rebound second half to put together her most complete performance as a Shawnee State hand — as her 24 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals on 9-of-15 shooting in a team-high 38 minutes indicate.
“That’s AP’s best performance that she’s had in a Shawnee State uniform,” Nickel said. “She was able to run the table today and played really focused. We challenged our post players following the game against Bethel, then yesterday and today and they responded to the challenge. I thought that AP and Carson both played really well. They really executed what we were trying to do, and I was really proud of the IQ and intensity that they played with.”
Snow comes up big
in second half
Following a four-point first half where she struggled to get much going, Snow came up large with a huge second half.
The three-time Mid-South Conference Player of the Week and the NAIA National Player of the Week on Jan. 5 played the part in a massive 22-point second-half burst.
Snow went 9-of-18 from the floor en route to a 26-point, eight-rebound, three-assist line for the contest — all while committing just one turnover.
The junior from Hartville also played a smart floor game, not committing a single foul after picking up her fourth with just under 8:45 to play in the fourth quarter.
“Brandie didn’t have a great first half, but she was able to figure it out, and that’s a credit to her,” Nickel said. “She was aggressive, attacked, and got downhill in the second half, and was just outstanding down the stretch.”
continues clutch knack
In the second half, Carson Roney found her own groove.
Having just four points and two rebounds herself in the first half after two early fouls sent her to the bench early in the second quarter, the senior came up huge in the second half — posting 13 points and three rebounds.
Between Roney, Pride and Snow, the trio combined to score 46 of Shawnee State’s 49 second-half points.
Abbie Kallner’s game-tying three with just under 90 seconds to go set up Roney’s heroics on the Bears’ final offensive possession.
Snow put up a runner that fell short of the rim, but Roney proved to be right on the spot — as the 6-1 forward muscled in a putback to give SSU the lead.
It proved to be Shawnee State’s first lead of the second half — and its last.
“Carson played a great basketball game,” Nickel said. “I was really proud of the way she performed. She did a great job.”
Shawnee State (12-3, 6-3 MSC) returns home to face off against Lindsey Wilson and Cumberland (Tenn.) on Thursday (Jan. 21) and Saturday (Jan. 23) in Mid-South Conference play.
Game times are set for 5:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club and https://givetossu.com/sponsorthebears.