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

Giaratano’s big second half leads Lady Lions to fifth straight win

Senior+SLU+guard+Hailey+Giaratano+rises+for+a+jumper+vs.+Northwestern+State+at+the+Pride+Roofing+University+Center.+%28Jan.+18%2C+2024+-+Hammond%29
Troy Allen
Senior SLU guard Hailey Giaratano rises for a jumper vs. Northwestern State at the Pride Roofing University Center. (Jan. 18, 2024 – Hammond)

Southeastern senior guard Hailey Giaratano scored 18 out of her 23 points in the second half to aid the Lady Lions in a 55-48 victory over the Northwestern State Lady Demons on Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Pride Roofing University Center. 

Giaratano’s second-half heroics gave the Green and Gold their fifth straight victory since the calendar turned to 2024. With the win over NSU, SLU finds itself in first place in the Southland Conference standings. 

“We didn’t play well in the first or the third, but we stepped it up in the second and fourth. We have to continue to do that at a high volume,” Head Coach Ayla Guzzardo said. 

It nearly took two minutes before any team got on the board until Lady Demon Sharna Ayres made a three-point shot. A few seconds later, sophomore guard Jen Pierre followed suit with a three of her own.  

The two rivals battled it out for the rest of the quarter, with NSU leading 14-13. Early in the game, the physicality showed as both teams shot 30% from the field or less. Northwestern State shot 30%, while SLU hit an appalling 23.5%. 

“We know with an in-state rival, it’s going to get chippy. It’s high emotions – and I hate saying it  – but you don’t want to get in those types of matches on our home court. It lights a fire under us,” Guzzardo said.

In the second quarter; however, the Green and Gold used a 15-6 run to take a 28-20 lead going into halftime. In the first two quarters, the Lady Lions held NSU to six of 21 shooting (28.5%). 

Coming out of intermission, the Lady Demons flipped the script on Southeastern. They shot 50% in the third quarter and outscored SLU 14-5. Their run was capped off by guard Carla Celaya, who made a three-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in the third to give Northwestern State a 34-33 lead. 

Offensively, the Green and Gold had their worst outing by shooting a gruesome 16.7%. But the fourth quarter completely turned the tide of the game. 

The Lady Lions shot 50% in the fourth while shooting 88.9% from the free-throw line. They also held NSU to 33% shooting and 28.6% from three. 

The Lady Demons scored 14 points in the final period, while Giaratano had 14 points alone in the fourth. In the last 3:37 minutes, SLU embarked on a 10-5 run to win the low-scoring affair.

Southeastern clawed out of this game amidst the physicality and hard falls from players. Two technical fouls were given out in the game, one to Ayres and another to junior guard Mackenzie Thomas. 

“If you’ve been to any of our games this year, you’d know none have been easy. Every team is going to give their best shot. Northwestern is a well-coached team, and they hit some big shots tonight, but I’ll always roll with my girls at the end of the day,” Guzzardo said. 

Southeastern will remain at the PRUC for a game against Texas A&M-Commerce that is now underway. TAMC are winners of two straight and come into Hammond, America, with an 8-7 (3-2 SLC) record on the season. 

Following two emotional wins, the Green and Gold will look to continue their winning spell and defend home court. 

For more information and coverage on Lady Lion basketball, visit The Lion’s Roar.

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About the Contributor
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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