Garrett Sanders, Staff Sports Writer
On Saturday, the Jacksonville State women’s basketball team welcomed an Eastern Kentucky team that came in winless in the OVC, but it would be a fight to the very last minute to decide a winner.
The Gamecocks overcame a slow start to EKU to get a 69-64 win in their last home game of the regular season.
Eastern Kentucky marched up to a 15-7 lead heading into the second quarter. But that hot start for the Colonels quickly turned cold.
JSU quickly stormed back with a 14-4 run in the second quarter. However, the Gamecocks were not taking brilliant shots throughout the game.
The Gamecocks shot the three-point shot sixteen times in the first half, only making two. JSU shot fifteen times inside the key as well. But the percentage of shots made inside the key compared to outside of the key in the first half was vastly different.
Eastern Kentucky in the second half came out firing shot after shot. But JSU also came with a game plan of their own. The Gamecocks knew that shooting the three ball was not working. That’s when the halftime adjustments came in. Instead of shooting outside the key, the Gamecocks started playing aggressive basketball by driving the ball inside the paint and forcing fouls.
This is where the Gamecocks saw a massive difference with their offensive production. JSU made it to the free throw line ten times in the first half. In the second half, with playing aggressive defense and driving to the basket more, it was drastically better. Twenty-nine times the Gamecocks made the free throw line in the second half. Of those twenty-nine opportunities, the Gamecocks made it count making 62 percent of their free throws. Compared to the first half of just 33 percent made in the free throw line, it progressed.
The Gamecocks forced twenty-three turnovers on Saturday. With that, they scored twenty-six points from those turnovers. This gave the Gamecocks an advantage in this game against the Colonels.
With that, JSU also had something beneficial go their way as well. While the starters for the Gamecocks showed out, the bench showed they could play some basketball as well. The bench had a total thirty-six points added to the scorecard of this game.
Even with the Gamecocks doing all the little things right in the second half, Eastern Kentucky found a way to keep the game competitive. The Colonels shot a whopping 68% shot percentage in the second half. For a team that is winless in the OVC, that’s impressive. However, it wouldn’t be enough.
With all of this going into effect, Jacksonville State eventually found a way to pull off the win 69-64. This was also Senior Night for the JSU Women’s Basketball team. Two Gamecocks said goodbye to Pete Matthews Coliseum Saturday night. But what they did for their final night at JSU was something special.
Senior Rayven Pearson was the star of the night for the Gamecocks. Pearson had a career night for her last time playing at JSU. She scored a career-high with twenty points while also adding twelve rebounds to her stats.
Another Senior recognized on Senior Night for the Gamecocks was Brianna Perry. Perry had a quite impressive night for her last time playing at JSU as well. Perry had six points but also had three steals to go to her stats as well.
This win for the Gamecocks puts them over the .500 mark at 14-13 and at .500 in Conference play (8-8) in the OVC.
Up next for the Gamecocks they will be facing Eastern Illinois on Thursday on the road. On Saturday, JSU will travel to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.