Preston Odam, Correspondent
The Jacksonville State Women’s Basketball team defeated the Lipscomb Bison on Wednesday, Jan. 12, to remain undefeated in the Pete Mathews Coliseum thus far. The Gamecocks downed the Bison in a 80-70 point victory to improve their conference record to 3-0 and an overall record of 12-3. The victory was the eighth straight at home for JSU.
Hot shooting helped guide the Gamecocks to the important conference victory. Imari Martin, a senior guard for the Lady Gamecocks, led the way for JSU scoring 20 points in the game on 38% shooting from three point range. Junior point guard Nekiyah Thompson followed Martin in scoring with 16 points respectively. She led the Gamecocks in assists with nine and also drew eight total foul calls, most of which were charges as she defended the guards for Lipscomb. Kennedy Gavin and Keiara Griffin each contributed eight rebounds in the game with Gavin scoring 12 points and Griffin adding eight points. Lipscomb had the nation’s leading three point shooter on their team, Blythe Pearson, entering the contest, but the Gamecock defense was able to hold Pearson to only 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Gamecocks started the game fairly cold as Lipscomb jumped out to an early 6-3 run before a three pointer from Martin tied the game at 8-8 in the opening period. Lipscomb would remain hot throughout the quarter eventually gaining an 18-11 lead with under 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. Gavin would hit two quick jumpers to cut into the deficit, but the Bisons would take a 21-15 lead into the second quarter. Lipscomb would then gain their largest lead of the night to begin the second quarter by gaining a 23-15 advantage over JSU.
Kaiya Burnett, who hit three three-pointers in the game, hit a shot from deep to polish a 9-0 run by JSU that would grant them the lead, 24-23, with under five and a half minutes remaining in the first half. The Bisons continued to battle with the Gamecocks before a three by Martin gave JSU a 31-30 lead at the end of the opening half.
JSU would lose the lead again early in the third quarter of play before a layup by Madison McCoy put the Gamecocks up by one again with a little over 6:30 left in the third. JSU was able to go on a strong 11-2 run to quickly extend their lead to 58-47 after another Martin three-pointer. JSU would go on to outscore the Bisons by nine in the third quarter to take a 10 point advantage, 60-50, into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
In the final quarter, JSU would push their lead all the way to a 17 point edge after Burnett hit the 14th three pointer of the game for the Gamecocks. Lipscomb would continue to claw their way back into the game, but with only 35 seconds remaining in the game, Kiana Johnson laid in a fastbreak bucket to ice the game at 80-70 in favor of JSU.
JSU was able to dominate the glass in this matchup as they outrebounded the Bisons 40-34. This is the 10th game this season in which the Gamecocks have outrebounded their opponent, and they are 10-0 on the season when doing so. JSU hit 42.4 percent of their three point attempts in the game and the Gamecocks shot an incredibly efficient 66.7 percent from the field in the second half.
The Lady Gamecocks look to continue their high level of play on the road Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3:30 p.m. to take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in Richmond, Kentucky. The Gamecocks hope to bring home another victory to further separate themselves from the rest of the West Division of the ASUN with a win to become 4-0 in conference play. The Colonels are currently second in the West as they are 2-1 in conference competition. The game will be available to stream live on ESPN+ as well as WLJS 91.9 FM, JSU’s student-run radio station.