George Meehan, Correspondent
On Thursday, February 20 the JSU Gamecocks avenged their worst loss of the season with a 72-51 point victory over Southeast Missouri State. The victory put the gamecocks overall at 12-14 and 8-7 in conference play.
This was the second straight home victory over a team with a share of the conference lead, beating Belmont at home earlier this year. Earlier this month, SEMO beat the Gamecocks by 27 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, handing the Gamecocks their worst loss of the season.
The Gamecocks started strong right out of the gate starting off of a 11-0 scoring run in the first five minutes of the game. Eventually, SEMO managed to cut the lead to 15-8 at the end of the first.
The second quarter started off strong with back-to-back three-pointers from Mckenna Lawrence both assisted by Nekiyah Thompson and followed by a three from Nekiyah Thompson, making it 24-8.
SEMO’s first bucket of the second quarter came at about the eight minute mark with a layup by Denisha Gardener, after a 9-0 run by the Gamecocks. SEMO answered the 9-0 run with their own 6-2 run. SEMO ended the Half with a three pointer by Carrie Shephard, to make the score at half 28-17 with the Gamecocks ahead by 11 points.
The third quarter was possibly one of the strongest of the game for the Gamecocks as they started the quarter off with a layup by Jessie Day followed by a three from Destiny Elliott. Yamia Johnson then went three for three from behind the arc, and only missed two of their nine attempts.
The Gamecocks finished the quarter out-scoring the Redhawks 29-14 with a 26-point lead. SEMO outscored the gamecocks in the fourth quarter 20-15, led mostly behind Tesia Thompson for the Redhawks. Most of the Gamecocks points in the fourth quarter from the free throw line, making two shots from the field.
There were three Gamecocks who finished the game in double digits: Yamia Johnson, Destiny Elliott, and Taylor Hawk. Johnson finished with a team-high of 16 points, followed by Elliott with 14, and Hawk with 13 which was her forty-fifth double digit game of her career.
Meanwhile, Senior Forward Chloe Long led the team with eight rebounds. Both Chloe Long and Nekiyah Thompson led the gamecocks in assists who both finished with five each.
Tesia Thompson led all Redhawks scorers with 20, and the only to finish with double digits. Thompson went 8-18 from the field. The Redhawks also saw Denisha Gardner record double-digit rebounds with a team high with 10 boards.
The Gamecocks shot at at an average of 43 percent, making 24 of their 55 shot attempts, outshooting SEMO who shot at 32 percent overall, only making 19 out of their 59 total attempts.
The Gamecocks also recorded a school record from 3-point range making 12 total three-pointers, knocking down 54 percent shooting 12-22 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, SEMO only came out with two successful three-points shots out of 11 attempts total, shooting only 18 percent from behind the arc.
The Gamecocks finished with 20 points off turnovers where SEMO only finished with nine. Gamecocks finished with eight second chance points compared to a SEMO’s six. However, the Redhawks out-scored the Gamecocks 13-8 on fastbreak points. SEMO also led gamecocks 30 to 20 with points scored in the paint.
The Gamecocks head to play Tennessee State in Evansville, Indiana on Thursday, February 27 as they look to clinch their spot in the conference tournament. Tip off begins at 5:30 p.m. Fans who want to watch the action can stream the game live on the ESPN+ app.