Lady Lions chase conference tourney spot

Sophomore guard Charliee Dugas led the Lady Lions by scoring 18 points in the game against Northwestern State University. File Photo/The Lion's Roar  

Finishing their last away game of the season, the Lady Lions basketball team came out victorious earning their eighth win this season.

The women’s basketball team beat Northwestern State University 64-54 on Feb. 24 with the game starting at 4 p.m. This was the second time the Lady Lions played the Lady Demons this season, and the Lady Lions won both games.

Head Coach Ayla Guzzardo shared her satisfaction from beating the team twice.

 

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“Anytime you can sweep a team in your conference, it’s a huge success,” said Guzzardo. “Northwestern is an in-state school, so we consider all in-state schools rival schools. We’re recruiting the same type of kids. We’re trying to compete in the same type of condition. We’re trying to beat them in that. We’re trying to beat them in our campus, everything. So, it’s a rival school for us. They’re well coached. They’re down with injuries this year, but you know, so were we. We got three down right now with injuries as well. So, it feels good to sweep the school, especially a rival school.”

The Lady Lions never allowed Northwestern to take the lead in the game, and the team held the largest lead of the game during the first quarter of 13 points.

Guzzardo mentioned two players who she thought were key players to the team’s success.

“Charliee Dugas and Kyla Williams came in the game for us, and they stepped up big time,” said Guzzardo. “Kyla didn’t necessarily have the points Charliee had, but what she did on the defensive end and the offensive end, she was the star player of the game, almost an unsung hero. You know, she stepped up, had some charges and stuff like that, but we got a lot of stops, and we came down and scored off their turnovers. We pulled 20 turnovers, and anytime you can force 15 or more turnovers in a game, that’s a good game for you to have.”

Dugas scored 18 points and had nine rebounds during the game while Williams scored 10 points and made four steals.

Junior guard Ashailee Brailey gave her analysis of the game.

“Early on, we were attacking, and that’s what really helped us out,” said Brailey. “We were getting to the basket. We were attacking and keeping it out to the open shooters, and that’s what really helped us maintain the lead. We had some miscommunication on defense, but I think at the beginning, it was offense that helped us. At the end, it was defense that helped.”

Since this game was the Lady Lions’ last away game, some players felt the relief of coming back home to finish the season.

“It’s definitely nice, especially since they’re games we need to have,” said senior guard Taylin Underwood. “It’s nice to have it at your home court because it always feels like you have an advantage there.”

Brailey discussed her level of confidence heading into these last games.

“I think we will be able to focus for the last two games that are at home,” said Brailey. “We’re in front of our home crowd, and we’ve been doing well at home. So, I think our momentum right now, that was our last away game. With that and the win, it’s really going to help us with these next two games that are huge for us, and it’ll be in front of our home crowd.”

Guzzardo expressed how eager the team is to compete against the University of New Orleans on Feb. 28.

“We’re going to have to get better when we play UNO on Wednesday,” said Guzzardo. “We owe them. They beat us on their own court pretty bad, but we were playing with one of our senior guards Taylin Underwood for half the game. She went out with an ankle injury. So, we got her back. She’s healthy. The kids that I have right now are healthy, and they’re hungry. They’re ready to get to the conference tournament. They know if we take care of our game and we take care of business, we’ll have a chance at the conference tournament, which I think Southeastern hasn’t done in over, I think, four or five years. So, we got out eye one the prize, and we’re ready to go.”

 

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