Lady Lions use huge third quarter to roar into first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history


Dasyonne Brashear

Now that the Lady Lions have defeated Lamar, they have earned the team’s first ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

After trailing by nine points at halftime, the Lady Lions outscored Lamar 26-11 in the third quarter on its way to a victory in the Southland Conference Tournament Championship, securing their first-ever bid to the women’s NCAA Tournament.

Overcoming the No. 3-seeded Cardinals by a score of 66-57, the top-seeded Lady Lions secured Southeastern’s first-ever at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, with standout performances from Taylor Bell and Jen Pierre. 

Bell, a Shreveport native, dropped a career-best 22 points on a very efficient 7 of 9 shooting off the bench. In just 21 minutes of action, she was pivotal to Southeastern’s win stepping up admirably in the absence of second-leading scorer Alexius Horne who was injured yesterday vs. Texas A&M-Commerce.

After pacing the team in scoring during Wednesday’s game, Pierre pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds. Standing at just 5’5, the true freshman point guard from Amite is likely to be one of the smallest players in the dance; though she is small, she is effective and, appropriately, cat-quick.

Junior guard and Ponchatoula product Hailey Giaratano won tournament MVP, putting up 15 points along with eight rebounds in tonight’s game. Giaratano dropped seven points on 60% shooting in the third quarter. Her efforts gave Southeastern a 53-47 lead heading into the final quarter. 

All in all, it was a spectacular season by the Green and Gold led by head coach Ayla Guzzardo – and, it is a season that is far from over. Her group will look to make some noise heading into the NCAA Tournament. 

Selections will start on March 12 and the NCAA Tournament will begin on March 15. For live coverage of the games, tune into ESPN. Stay posted for details of Southeastern’s first-round matchup.