Gamecocks lose in the first round of the WNIT to Tulane

Photo courtesy of Alba Conejero Gutierrez/JSU

Benjamin Hall, Correspondent

On Thursday, March 17, the Jacksonville State women’s basketball team lost in the first round of the WNIT to Tulane 80-36. This loss was the largest margin of defeat since their 2011 game against Belmont. The 36 points scored by the Gamecocks marked the least amount of points in a game since 2011.

Senior Kiana Johnson led Jacksonville State with 18 points in her final game. In her career, she holds the program-record for 130 games played to go along with 909 career points in a Gamecocks uniform.

“I’m so grateful for Kiana Johnson and the five years she gave this program,” head coach Rick Pietri said after the loss.

JSU’s offense had trouble finding momentum throughout the game. Jacksonville State forced a charge on Tulane’s first possession and freshman Kiera Griffin converted a jumper to give JSU a 2-0 lead. After that sequence of plays, Tulane took control of the first half. 

Johnson and Griffin were the only Gamecocks to score in the first half. The Gamecocks only scored 13 points and had 11 turnovers in the first half., which left Tulane leading 38-13 at halftime. 

The struggles continued for Jacksonville State in the second half. JSU matched their first half total with 13 points in the third quarter, but they allowed Tulane to score 27 points in that time. Tulane’s defense was able to force 16 turnovers. The Gamecocks average 12 turnovers per game.

Tulane shot 51.7% percent from the field and 66.7% from three. JSU struggled from the field, only shooting 22.4% percent and 20.7% percent from three.

The Gamecocks’ final record was 24-8 and 13-3 in the ASUN. This season, the Gamecocks recorded the most wins as a Division-I program in a single season, the winningest D-I conference season, and a program-record 15-1 record at home. The WNIT appearance was the first postseason tournament for JSU as a D-I program.

“There is a litany of things that this team accomplished this year and no one can take those things away from them,” Pietri said. “With that said, you don’t want to go out the way we went out tonight and I’m really sad and disappointed for that.”

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