Women’s basketball looks to close season on a high

Junior guard Ashailee Brailey passes the ball in the game against Abilene Christian University. Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar

The women’s basketball team followed a road loss against the University of New Orleans with a win at home against Abilene Christian University last week.

The Lady Lions were outscored 25-16 by UNO in the third quarter, which led to their downfall. Sophomore guard Charliee Dugas scored a season-high 26 points to keep the team in the hunt but was unable to avoid an 82-73 defeat.    

In the next game against ACU, the Lady Lions turned around their third quarter woes to spark a 78-76 victory.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Head Coach Ayla Guzzardo. “We were down. We were up. It was a back and forth game. I’m happy that it came down to the last possession because we’re gonna have games that are gonna be close like that. Us clinching a defensive stop, that’s what we wanna do. We talked about defense the entire game.”

Dugas was instrumental in this game as well. She blocked a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds and added 16 points for her team.

Guzzardo described her team pep-talk during halftime, which helped the team carry the momentum they had late in the first half.

 “We’re hungry,” said Guzzardo. “We want to win. We got to find a way to win, and if there’s any type of way we could win, it’s on defense. So, we locked up defensively. We made them speed up the ball a little bit. We advanced for a little bit for pressure. We got some quick steals and some quick points. That helps us build a lead, and once we had the lead, we had to hold on to it.”

Senior guard Taylin Underwood had the responsibility of finishing the game for the team by scoring two free throws. After scoring one of the two free throws, she had 23 points for the game. She described how she felt during the final moments of the game.

“It was a lot of pressure,” said Underwood. “Obviously, to get both of them in would have made us feel more secure, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we weren’t gonna be able to stop them defensively on the next play.”

The team got off to a slow start against ACU as the away team led the opening at 10 minutes with 23-14. Underwood gave her thoughts on the team’s start to the game.

“It wasn’t good,” said Underwood. “I guess we didn’t come out as ready, but we picked it up in the second half. Defense ’cause we knew that was the way we were gonna win. Offensively, we knew we were gonna score. So, the talk in halftime was definitely defense.”

The Lady Lions hope to end the season on a high with three games remaining. Guzzardo described how she would like her team to approach the games in the rest of the season.

“Obviously, I would like to win it all,” said Guzzardo. “Our main focus right now is to take one game at a time. After this game, we have a little bye week, and then we have a great team next Saturday in Natchitoches. Northwestern, they’re a very good program, very well coached. So, we can’t underestimate them by any mean. We got to come out like we did in this game. We got to come out strong.”