Preston Odam, Correspondent
Jacksonville State University’s women’s basketball team went 2-1 in a long weekend trip to Nashville, Tenn. and Edwardsville, Ill.
JSU lost 54-53 to Belmont, beat Tennessee State 67-61 and topped SIUE 61-47. These two wins have propelled JSU into fourth place in the OVC standings entering the final week of the regular season.
The first game of the weekend last Thursday was against the ever-formidable Belmont Bruins. The game was a defensive slug fest in which the Gamecocks fell just short of victory.
In the final minute of the competition, Belmont sank a deep three just beating the shot clock’s buzzer. JSU’s Taylor Hawks was able to respond with a three of her own.
JSU got a stop in Belmont’s final possession, gaining themselves an offensive opportunity to win the ball game. Kiana Johnson’s pull up from the top of the key barely missed as the final buzzer sounded.
Junior Yamia Johnson led JSU in scoring with a high of 15 points. Taylor Hawks added 11 herself making her now sixth place in most double-digit scoring games in Lady Gamecock history. Keira Griffin and Winnie Kuimi each grabbed team-highs of seven boards, while Hawks and Yamia Johnson both led with three assists a piece.
Next up on the agenda for the Gamecocks was the Tennessee State Tigers on Saturday.
JSU trailed the majority of this game against the Tigers but caught a break when a technical foul changed the entirety of the game. JSU was trailing by one point with 23 seconds in the game and was attempting to inbound the basketball when TSU reached over the out of bounds line and touched the ball thus causing a technical foul to be called against the Tigers.
Yamia Johnson was able to convert on both of her technical free throws giving the Gamecocks the lead and the possession. Imari Martin was immediately fouled and sank her foul shots giving the Gamecocks a 64-61 lead that would eventually be the dagger for the Tigers as the Gamecocks ended the game winning 67-61.
Imari Martin led the Gamecocks with 21 points, followed closely by Yamia Johnson who added 20 points as well. This is the first time two Gamecocks have scored 20 points in a game 2016. Jessie Day led the team in rebounds with 11. Winnie Kuimi had a career best of 9 boards as well. Martin had one assist.
Finally, JSU faced the SIU-E Cougars on Monday to finish the long road trip. This game was tight throughout until the fourth quarter in which the Gamecocks scored the first 20 points of the quarter to help pull away from the Cougars. This victory gives the Gamecocks a tie for fourth place in the league with Tennessee Tech as both teams are sitting at 11-6 in the league.
Yamia Johnson led the Gamecocks with a team high of 14 points, including clutch threes that helped the Gamecocks pull away from the Cougars. Imari Martin followed Johnson with 13 points. This was also Johnson’s third double-double of the season as she added 11 rebounds. Kennedy Gavin led the team with 12 boards. Jessie Day also added 12 points and a team high three assists.
JSU is now looking to face Murray State and Austin Peay at home this week, with Murray coming to the Pete Mathews Coliseum today. Austin Peay visits after that on Saturday.
The Gamecocks look to end the regular season on a high note by remaining undefeated at home entering the conference tournament. The games will be available to stream on ESPN+ and will be broadcast live on WLJS 91.9 FM.