Tag: JSU Women’s Basketball

Morehead State ends JSU season in OVC Tourney

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Grace Cockrell/JSU 
Rayven Pearson scored 17 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in defeat against Morehead State Wednesday.

Daniel Mayes, Editor-in-Chief


EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The Jacksonville State Women’s basketball team finished the regular season strong to earn their seventh spot in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, but two-seeded Morehead State ended the Gamecocks’ run 77-60in the first round Wednesday.

The Gamecocks won four of their final five to secure a spot in the tournament, including a 68-57 win over the same Morehead State team Feb.21, but a tournament-ready Eagles team proved to be too much for JSU to handle on Wednesday.

Turnovers and Morehead State offensive rebounds sunk the Gamecocks. In the first half, Jacksonville State committed 10 turnovers that lead to 11 MSU points, and the Eagles scored 10 second chance points off of 12 offensive rebounds. The Gamecocks forced just two turnovers and pulled down three offensive boards during the half.

The Gamecocks started off 4-for-4 from the field to keep pace with Morehead State early, but as JSU cooled off, the Eagles heated up. 

Morehead State jumped out to a 22-13 advantage at the end of one, then started the second on a 12-0 run to take command. A Brianna Perry three-pointer just before halftime cut the MSU lead to 42-23 at the break.

Jacksonville State rebounded in the second half, but the damage was already done, as Morehead State cruised through the final two frames to take the game and move on to the semifinals of the OVC tournament. 

What to Know

—JSU Senior Rayven Pearson, who was named First-team All-OVC on Tuesday, had a strong game to finish out her JSU career. Pearson scored 17 points and pulled down 14 boards to lead the Gamecocks in both categories.

—Morehead State had a trio of players turn in big scoring days. Darianne Seward led all scorers with 26, while Miranda Crockett scored 24 and McKenzie Calvert had 16. All three were in double-digits before halftime.

—In a season where defense has been a calling card for the Gamecocks, JSU struggled to stop Morehead State throughout the game. Morehead State’s 42 first-half points were the second most given up by the Gamecocks in the first half all year long after JSU gave up 45 to Troy in December.

Who Said

—Pietri on the finish to the season for the Gamecocks: “After nine conference games at the end of January, we were 3-6 in the league. These kids deserve a lot of credit for rallying and even putting themselves into position to be where we ended up.”

—Morehead State coach Greg Todd on facing the Gamecock defense: “Offensively, to be able to score the amount of points we did in the first half against probably the best defensive team in our league was awesome.”

—Pearson on playing her last game in a JSU uniform: “Coming into this game, you know it could be your last game or you could keep going, so I just tried to go out there, played my role, and tried to help my team out as much as I could.”

Next Up

—After falling in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, Jacksonville State closes out their 2018-19 campaign with a record of 15-15 (9-10 OVC). Morehead State (23-9, 14-5) advances to the semifinal round on Friday, where they will await the winner of the matchup between Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay on Thursday.

Gamecocks come back on Senior Day

Grant Benefield, Chanticleer Sports Writer

After trailing the entire second half, the Gamecocks rallied in the fourth quarter to take the lead with just 0:02 remaining and defeat OVC opponent Tennessee State.

The wild finish to Saturday’s game at Pete Mathews Coliseum came when freshman guard Taylor Hawks scored an and-1 layup that brought the Gamecocks (15-10, 9-5) within 1. Hawks would convert the ensuing free throw, tying the score at 61 with 0:15 remaining.

Sophomore guard Morgan Towells then made a great hustle play to steal the Tigers’ (5-18, 3-11) inbound pass and give the Gamecocks the opportunity they needed. With 0:02 left to play, Chloe Long would be fouled and given the chance to give her team their first lead since early in the second quarter.

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Chloe Long netted a free throw with just 2 seconds remaining to lift the Gamecocks over Tennessee State (Steve Latham/JSU)

Long hit 1-of-2 free throw attempts to give the Gamecocks the 62-61 lead, and that would be all the they needed, as Tennessee State would not be able to take a shot on their final possession.

Senior forward Tyler Phelion had a phenomenal day for the Gamecocks, scoring a career-high 17 points, as well as recording 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

Hawks and Rayven Pearson each added 9 points, with Pearson also grabbing a game-leading 9 boards.

The Gamecocks’ Saturday started well, with the home team leading 16-12 after the first quarter.

However, a lackluster second quarter led to the Tigers outscoring the Gamecocks 26-9, giving the visitors the 38-25 lead at the half.

The Gamecocks chipped away at the Tigers’ lead in the third quarter and brought the score to within 10 to start the fourth, before the Gamecock rally led to their ninth conference win of the season. This is just the fifth time the Gamecocks have reached that mark since joining the OVC.

The Gamecocks will look to further improve that record on a 2-game road trip next week, where JSU will take on Murray State on Thursday at 5:00 and Austin Peay on Saturday at 4:30.

Don’t overlook what Pietri and the Gamecocks are doing this season

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Chris Allen Brown, Associate Editor

Jacksonville State women’s basketball team’s last-second 62-61 win over Tennessee State Saturday afternoon got me thinking — the Gamecocks are quietly having a remarkable season.

Yes, Rick Pietri’s squad dropped back-to-back games against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville then Tennessee Tech, but the win against the Tigers over the weekend will all but send the Gamecocks to Evansville, Indiana for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament for the third time under Pietri and the first since 2014.

Early in the season, Jacksonville State held a first-quarter lead against nationally-ranked Florida State, and, despite scoring woes during the third quarter, the Gamecocks bounced back in the fourth to show their fight. JSU also has notable non-conference wins against Rhode Island, Eastern Carolina and New Orleans. It had a chance against Miami (Ohio) University, but a late fourth-quarter rally came up short.

In conference play, wins over Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State and Tennessee State had Jacksonville State sitting atop the OVC standings at the turn of the calendar. The Gamecocks responded from a 16-point loss at Belmont with wins over Murray State, Austin Peay and Morehead State. JSU dropped the next two by a combined eight points, before knocking off Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois, which lead into the losses against SIUE and TTU.

Four games remain on the regular-season schedule, including road games at Murray State, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech. The lone remaining game inside Pete Mathews Coliseum for Pietri and his players is about Belmont, which this week broke into the AP Top 25 for the first time in school history.

The thing with this team, as Pietri has noted before, is everyone is in it together. Everyone isn’t playing for themselves, but rather the name on the front of the jerseys.

You won’t find any player winning OVC Player of the Week, because everyone would rather help a teammate score rather than score themselves. For example, on a 2-on-1 breakaway fast break against TSU last weekend, freshman Taylor Hawks and senior Tasha Magruder passed the ball between themselves twice to make sure one had the great shot rather than a good shot.

11 players have seen game action in 17-or-more games. Of those players, every player has double-digit assists with Hawks leading the way with 74. Magruder (44), Leah Strain (37) and Rayven Pearson (32) are next on the list.

Speaking of Pearson, if she isn’t on a postseason All-OVC team, it’ll be a shame. The junior forward from Hazel Green, Ala., is averaging 9.1 rebounds, 8.6 points, 1.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.8 steals in 22.2 minutes per game. She also has seven points and rebounds double-doubles on the season.

The same can be said for Hawks and her 8.3 points, 2.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 0.8 steal stat line in 20.1 minutes per game as a true freshman.

However, besides the assist totals and the defensive stops, maybe the most impressive stat is how Jacksonville State is 10-3 in home games this season.

Each coach will always say they want to make every home game as tough as possible, but it’s all talk until the players back it up. And right now, despite only having one home game left this season, Pietri’s players have backed up the talk.

 

Gamecocks take down EIU, fall to SIUE

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Rayven Pearson’s 13 points helped JSU earn its first road win at EIU in 11 years (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Hannah Grant, Staff Sports Writer

The Gamecocks took home 1-1 record and a setback to third place in the Ohio Valley Conference standings from their trip to Illinois. The women’s team (14-9, 8-4 OVC) are staying afloat in the league race during their best start to a season since joining the league in 2004.

The Illinois series began on Thursday evening in Charleston, Illinois to face off Eastern Illinois. The Gamecocks snapped a road losing streak against the Panthers with their 59-50 win, the first in 11 years inside EIU’s Lantz Arena.

JSU started the game with a 16-2 lead and led for the first 18 minutes of action. The Panthers stormed back into the game however, using an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the second quarter to erase the Gamecock lead and take a three-point advantage of their own, 28-25 at the halftime break.

Senior Rayven Pearson, who finished the game as a leading scorer with 13 points, helped the Gamecocks bounce back after the half, and JSU outscored the Panthers 13-7 in the third to regain the advantage.

Jax State outpaced EIU again in the fourth and left Lantz Arena with a 59-50 win.

The victory marks win number 70 for Rick Pietri as Head Coach at JSU, making him just the third coach in school history to reach that total.

On Saturday evening, JSU took a trip to fight for the right to second place in OVC play against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

The Gamecocks found trouble in Edwardsville as they fell to the Cougars 41-65.

SIUE showed dominance in both offense and defense right from the tip, and the Cougars maintained a lead each in quarter. The Cougars held a huge lead over JSU to 29-9 three minutes into the second quarter and 32-17 at the half.

JSU inched their way back into the game, and a 10-0 run in the third quarter left the Gamecocks only trailing 41-38. SIUE took advantage of the home court, however, outscoring JSU 24-3 in the final minutes to run away with the game. JSU made just 15-55 shots overall and 5-24 from beyond the arc.

Freshman Taylor Hawks added another consecutive double-digit scoring night with the team high 12 points, being the only JSU player to reach double-digits. Since entering OVC play, the Georgia native has averaged 9.6 points per game which is right under senior Tyler Phelion’s 10 points per game average. Kiana Johnson contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds.

JSU returns to their home court on Feb. 8 against Tennessee Tech at 11:30 a.m. for the annual Education Day game for local city school students.