The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Lady Lions dominate Millsaps in season opener, fall to Mississippi State on the road

Troy Allen
Senior SLU guard Hailey Giaratano guards the ball during the Lady Lions’ opening season win over Millsaps at the Pride Roofing University Center. (Nov. 6, 2023 – Hammond)

Women’s basketball took care of business last Monday, Nov. 6 against Millsaps at the Pride Roofing University Center with a resounding 61-30 victory. 

SLU’s stout defense picked up right where it left off a year ago as the reigning Southland Conference tournament champions smothered the Majors’ offense. Coach Ayla Guzzardo’s squad held its opposition to an 8/39 (20.5%) shooting performance from the field and only allowed 15 points in each half for the contest. 

“Defense is where we make our statement. Everybody knows that. We just need to play our style of basketball. Our bench stepped up tonight and I’m very thankful for them,” Guzzardo said. 

Adding to its torrid display, Southeastern swiped 12 steals, translating to 20 fast break points and 26 points off turnovers.

SLU’s standout performer was undoubtedly junior forward Cheyanne Daniels. The 6’3 transfer out of Shawnee Community College posted a double-double in her Green and Gold debut, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. 

“Remaining aggressive, trying to score the ball, allowing my defense to lead to my offense, and having trust in my teammates,” Daniels said on what was key to her stellar showing. “I love it here at Southeastern.”

Senior guard Hailey Giaratano did a little bit of everything against the Majors on Monday night. The 2023 SLC tournament MVP produced 10 points, six rebounds, and a team-high five assists, as she figures to remain a key catalyst for the Lady Lions championship defense.

Junior guards Arianna Patton and Taylor Bell rounded out SLU’s top scorers with nine and eight points, respectively. 

Patton, a Jones College transfer, paced Southeastern with two three-pointers for the game, while Bell sank one. 

Overall, the team’s performance could’ve been more efficient from an offensive standpoint. The Lady Lions shot an underwhelming 23-63 (36.5%) for the afternoon and went 11/21 (52.4%) from the charity stripe, which Coach Guzzardo will want to see improve going forward. 

For a season opener, no complaints can be had after a 31-point win, regardless of the opponent. 

On Friday, Nov. 10, SLU fell to 1-1 on the season following its 67-46 defeat at No. 25 Mississippi State. 

A disastrous third quarter overshadowed what was all in all a gritty showing from Southeastern on the road versus stiff SEC competition. 

The Lady Lions kept pace with the Bulldogs throughout the first 20 minutes of action in Starkville, Miss. MSU clung to an 18-17 lead after the first quarter and led 27-26 at the half. 

SLU jumped out to an early 10-4 advantage at one point during the first quarter and held a 26-22 edge with 3:27 to play in the first half before Mississippi State rattled off the last five points heading into the locker room. 

Southeastern’s brilliant first half was all for naught after the Bulldogs flexed their muscles in the third. MSU outscored SLU 24-8 during a dominant period for the home side in which its lead ballooned to 51-34 entering the fourth. 

Mississippi State won the final quarter of play 16-12 en route to an ultimately comfortable 21-point victory. 

Graduate transfer Kennedy Paul was the Lady Lions’ top scorer for the night with 11 points. The former Prairie View A&M forward also snatched five rebounds. 

Giaratano scored 10 points and paced the team with eight boards. Daniels added nine points, six rebounds, and a joint team-high three assists in the losing effort. 

Southeastern showed it can battle with any team in the country on any given night and will look to rebound tonight vs. Southern-New Orleans at the PRUC. 

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+. Tune in to KSLU 90.9 FM to listen live on SLU’s leading radio station.

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About the Contributors
Chase Gispert, Sports Editor
Chase Gispert is a communication major with a concentration in sports communication. He joined The Lion’s Roar in March of 2021 and now serves as sports editor. Chase is a native of Madisonville. He has a strong passion for sports and is excited about where the future may take him.
Troy Allen, Staff Reporter
Troy Allen is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in sports journalism. He joined The Lion’s Roar as a staff reporter in September of 2022 with hopes of contributing to a great program. Troy plans to follow his passion for covering various sports like football, basketball and baseball. On his off days, he loves to hang out with friends and family, watch football and play video games.
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