Missoula, Mont. --- The Tennessee State University women's
basketball team shook off a sluggish start and battled from behind to defeat the
University of Idaho, 69-64, in Dahlberg Arena at the 32 annual Lady Griz
Classic Friday night.
TSU (3-3) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half
before outscoring Idaho, 43-34, in the second stanza. The Lady Tigers forced
the WAC opponent into 14 turnovers and held them to 26.9 percent from three-point
range, a team that usually shoots over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Simone Hopes led the Lady Tigers and recorded her second
career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kesi Hess also registered
a double-double, the first of her career, with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Jasmin Shuler added 14 points and six rebounds.
The start for Tennessee State was sluggish, as Idaho scored
nine unanswered points to capture an early, 9-0, lead. TSU had only made
3-of-17 from the field through the first eight minutes while the opponent was
shooting 50 percent from the floor.
The Vandals increased their advantage to, 19-5, before
back-to-back buckets from Simone Hopes pulled TSU to within 10.
Idaho maintained at least a nine-point lead for most of the
first half but the TSU defense picked up and the Lady Tigers used a 7-0 run, during
the last three minutes, to cut the deficit down to four.
TSU trailed, 30-26, at halftime.
With about five minutes ticked off the clock in the second
frame, TSU closed within two behind a three-pointer by Chelsea Hudson. The
Vandals, however, answered with consecutive triples and a break-away lay-up to
go back up by double-digits.
The Lady Tigers continued to fight from behind and once
again rallied to within two, 53-51, after Tanesha Stenson forced a turnover
that allowed Simone Hopes to score on a break-away.
Another Hopes' bucket pulled the Lady Tigers even, 53-53
with 6:39 remaining. On the next play, Jasmin Shuler capped a 19-7 run that put
TSU on top, 55-53.
With 2:52 remaining, the Lady Tigers managed to build their
advantage up to, 66-60, but the Vandals responded with four straight to pull
Idaho had possession with 31.4 seconds left in the game when
TSU forced a turnover and got the ball back. Idaho was forced to foul and put
Destiney Gaston on the line.
Gaston made the front-end of a 1-and-1 but missed the second
to make the score, 67-64, in favor of TSU with 20.7 seconds remaining.
On the Vandals' next possession they attempted two
three-pointers but came up empty on them both.
After being fouled, Kesi Hess stepped up to the line and
knocked down two free-throws to ice the game.
The Lady Tigers return to action tomorrow against host
Montana at 7 p.m. MT to conclude the Lady Griz Classic. The contest can be
watched live on the Big Sky Network.
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