Lady Lions execute in season opening win

New faces played a key role in the Lady Lions basketball team’s game on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., opening the season with a 83-54 win over Centenary College. Southeastern entered the game with eight new players on the roster and got contributions from every player in the 29 point victory.

After a slow start, the Lady Lions got things going four minutes into the game when junior forward Aja Gibson scored the first points of the night on a layup foul, going up to convert the three point play. Gibson led all scorers in the night with 13 points, nine being in the first half. The Lions’ offense continued to score throughout the half and increased their lead to nine with 9:13 to play after a three-pointer from freshman guard Symone Miller. With just over two minutes to play in the first half, a layup by newcomer Cierra Morris gave the Lady Lions an 18 point lead. Centenary would soon chop that lead to just 13 after a jumper from guard Tandrea Shamblin going into the half, 39-26.

“I really like our energy,” said Lady Lions head coach Lori Davis Jones. “It’s been really fun in practice and everybody’s coachable. The freshmen brought a really good energy.”

Junior transfer Brandi Simmons started off the scoring in the second half, coming down to hit a jumper after grabbing the rebound from a Centenary miss on the other end. Simmons nearly converted a double-double in her first career game as a Lady Lion with eight points and 10 boards.

“She is a workhorse down there,” said Jones. “She doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t back down. She just works every day.”

 In the second half, the Lady Lions were led by guards Kelli Jenkins, senior, and Elizabeth Styles, freshman. The Lady Lions continued to find points inside as Jenkins converted on a layup with 17:26 left to play. Jenkins found her game in the second half, going 4-4 from the field after going 1-5 in the first half. Jenkins went on to convert on eight straight points for the Lady Lions, who scored 54 points in the paint on Friday. The Lady Lions also got a big second half off the bench from Styles, who had five points and three steals.

“I think we’re really deep in the guard spot,” said Jones. “We have some open court players, and we really have to continue to push the ball and be patient offensively.”

Styles gave the Lady Lions a 27 point lead with under ten minutes to play when she stole the ball from Centenary guard Vashni Sharp-Moore and went down to covert the layup in transition. Styles was part of the Lady Lions 22 points off the bench in the second half and 12 off of turnovers. The Lady Lions went on to outscore Centenary 44-28 in the second half en route to their first victory of the season.

Southeastern returns home next Friday to face non-conference opponent Jackson State.