Friday, November 24, 2017

Boyd leads Grambling Lady Tigers past McNeese Cowgirls

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana | Jazmin Boyd led three Grambling State University women's basketball players in double figures with 18 points as the Lady Tigers used a big first-half run in a 75-60 victory over McNeese on Wednesday afternoon in Burton Coliseum.
Grambling State (2-3) trailed 13-5 early in the first quarter, but used a 14-2 run over the final five minutes to grab a 19-15 lead. The Cowgirls (2-2) cut the margin to two a few times, but could not get past the Lady Tigers.
Boyd finished with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, five assists and four rebounds. Monisha Neal and Deja McKinney each added 17 points, as both players sank three 3-pointers. Neal and Takerra Parsons led the way on the glass with eight boards. Shakyla Hill added nine points, a team-high six assists, six rebounds, two steals and one block.
Keara Hudall paced McNeese with 21 points, on 9-of-23 shooting, and four rebounds. Caitlin Davis tallied 17 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Turning Point
McNeese raced out to a 13-5 advantage after a Caitlin Davis free throw with 5:21 left in the opening quarter, but Grambling State rallied and closed the first quarter strong as the Lady Tigers used a 14-2 run over the final five minutes to grab a 19-15 lead.
The Cowgirls cut the deficit to 26-24 after a 3-pointer by Gabby Guidry with 4:32 left, but again the Lady Tigers answered and pushed the margin to 33-26 after a Deja McKinney 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining in the first half.
McNeese trimmed the margin to 33-31 after a Keara Hudnall 3-pointer, but Grambling State got a layup by Shakyla Hill at the buzzer to take a 35-31 advantage into the break.
The Lady Tigers came out of the break and used an 11-4 run, capped by a McKinney layup, to extend the Grambling State lead to 44-36 with 6:15 left in the third.
Grambling State dominated the third quarter and outscored McNeese, 24-12, to take a 60-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers pushed the margin to 67-45 after a Boyd layup with 8:02 left and the Cowgirls could never recover as Grambling State picked up its second win of the season.
Inside the Numbers
· Grambling State shot 43.1 percent (28-of-65) from the field and 75 percent (10-of-25) from the free-throw line.
· The Lady Tigers sank 10 3-pointers and shot 40 percent from behind the arc.
· McNeese was 20-of-52 shooting (38.5 percent) from the floor and 60 percent (15-of-25) from the charity stripe.
· The Lady Tigers registered 44 rebounds, including 25 off the defensive glass.
· The Cowgirls tallied 31 rebounds, with 12 of those coming on the offensive end.
· Grambling State finished with 39 bench points, 32 points in the paint, 23 points off 16 Cowgirl turnovers and 19 second-chance points.
· McNeese registered 20 points in the paint, 20 points off 20 Grambling State turnovers, nine second-chance points and eight bench points.
· There were no ties and just one lead change.
News and Notes
· Grambling State got back into the win column after back-to-back losses to Xavier and Florida State.
· The Lady Tigers will take seven days off before playing host to Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 30
· The Southeastern Louisiana game will be the final home game for the Lady Tigers in 2017.
· With the win, Grambling State improved to 6-2 all-time against McNeese.

Up Next
Grambling State returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 30 against Southeastern Louisiana. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at the Fredrick C. Hodby Assembly Center.
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Bayou Classic gameday: Turnovers could play a big role — again — in deciding the Bayou Classic

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- In last year’s Bayou Classic, Grambling did to Southern what Southern had been doing to other teams all season — it capitalized on just about every Southern mistake.

The Jaguars led all Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams with 32 forced turnovers last season, but in the 2016 Bayou Classic it was Grambling that made those turnovers count.

A promising 12-play, 88-yard Southern drive ended in the first quarter when Austin Howard fumbled at the 1-yard line. On the Jaguars’ next drive, a Howard interception turned into a short field and a Grambling touchdown.

“If you look at the turning point in the game a year ago, it was turnovers,” said Southern coach Dawson Odums.

Southern is hoping to flip the script in this year’s edition of the game.

Entering Saturday, Grambling is leading the Southwestern Athletic Conference and is ranked second among FCS teams in turnover margin (+19). The Tigers’ 26 turnovers forced rank No. 6 nationally.


Hampton AD looking for 'CEO-type coach'

HAMPTON, Virginia -- In his first interview since Connell Maynor’s resignation as football coach, Hampton University athletic director Eugene Marshall offered few specifics. There was no timetable and no list of names.

But Marshall did describe the type of candidate he hopes to hire.

“We want a CEO-type coach who can run a program,” Marshall said Tuesday afternoon. “Someone who can attract or retain quality assistant coaches. We want everybody to know we want talent in the 757 to come to Hampton.”

Asked to explain what he meant by “CEO-type,” Marshall gave an example of college football’s most recognized coach.

“If you look at how Nick Saban runs his program at Alabama, he’s a CEO,” Marshall said. “And you don’t have to be at Alabama to run a program like that. We have a football program, not a football team.”


Celts defeat Gold Rush 63-61 in closing seconds

HOUSTON, Texas -- Xavier University of Louisiana freshman Rayshawn Mart scored a career-high 16 points Wednesday, but St. Thomas (Texas) rallied in the final 2 1/2 minutes for a 63-61 men's basketball victory.

The Celts (5-1) won their fifth in a row and snapped the two-game win streak of the Gold Rush (6-3). XULA has dropped three straight on the road.

Virgil Davison's fourth 3-pointer of the game gave the Gold Rush a 57-54 lead with 2:32 remaining. XULA grabbed its final lead, 61-60, on Mart's basket with 24 seconds to play.

Paul Taulton's basket with 14 seconds remaining put St. Thomas ahead to stay, 62-61. After a XULA turnover on the next possession, Bryon Makel made 1-of-2 free throws for the Celts with one second remaining.

Mart, scoring in double figures for the second straight game and the fourth time this season, was 6-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the line in 24 minutes. Davison scored 14 points, and Jeff Dixon had eight points and five assists. Elex Carter had team highs of six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Makel scored 13 points and Taulton 10.

XULA trailed 30-21 at halftime after being outscored 20-5 in the final 11 minutes, but the Gold Rush got back in contention by shooting 55.6 percent from the floor in the second half. There were 10 ties and eight lead changes in the final period.

For the game, XULA outshot St. Thomas 44.2 to 35.8 percent from the floor. But the Celts were plus-10 in turnovers, committing 12 and gaining 22. St. Thomas produced 11 steals, four by Lennard Robinson.

The Gold Rush will break for Thanksgiving, then resume the schedule next Wednesday at 7 p.m. against NAIA No. 2 LSU-Alexandria at the Convocation Center. It'll be a doubleheader, with the Gold Nuggets and LSUA tipping off at 5.


Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Alabama State blows out Edward Waters (Fla.) in Turkey Day Classic

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- When the long snapper returns a punt, chances are things are going your way.

Alabama State had a little fun in its final game of the season, which resulted in a 37-3 win over Edward Waters (Fla.) in the 94th Turkey Day Classic at ASU Stadium.

ASU junior long snapper Dylan Renaker returned a punt 11 yards in the fourth quarter, a culmination to a solid finish to the season for the Hornets (5-6).

“Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking (when I fielded the punt),” Renaker said. “Instinct took over and I just tried to make a play. It’s cool because long snappers don’t get those opportunities.”

George Golden led the rushing attack with 67 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for Alabama State. D.J. Pearson completed 7 of 12 passes for 68 yards and was sacked twice.

Hornets interim head coach Donald Hill-Eley said he was pleased with how his team finished Thursday and during the second half of the season.

“We played down to their level in the first half,” Hill-Eley said. “It’s hard to get the guys up when they see who’s in front of them. I was happy that they came out, limited the mistakes they had and brought some energy.”


Alabama State's HoneyBeez plus-size dance team slays crowds

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Since middle school, Quiana Reliford had wanted to attend a historically black college or university. But when the Kansas City, Kan., native found out that Alabama State University had a plus-size dance team - the adorably named HoneyBeez - she knew she'd found her school.

"I'd been dancing all my life, and I wanted to continue to do that," says Reliford, now a senior health information management major at ASU. "Lo and behold, thank God, there was an opening when I got to campus."

Reliford has been a member of the dance team for all four years of college. "The HoneyBeez drew me to ASU," she says.

Reliford is one of six current members of the dance team, which was founded by band director Dr. James Oliver. His goal at the time was "to do something different with the band," he says. A graduate of ASU himself, Oliver had returned to the university in 2000.

During those first few years at ASU, it broke his heart to see young women try out for the Stingettes dance line and not make it because of their size. "I would put them on the flag line, and you could see the disappointment in their faces that they couldn't dance."

He was hesitant to mix the larger girls with the Stingettes, he says, "because putting plus-size girls with smaller girls looks like you're making fun of them."


Resilient ASU Hornets make for interesting offseason

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- What was the lesson we were taught by Alabama State football in 2017?

Never count the Hornets out.

After a third consecutive winless start, this time at 0-5, the Hornets earned their way to the brink of a winning season.

Alabama State finished off its season with a 34-3 victory over Edward Waters (Fla.) in the 94th Turkey Day Classic on Thursday.

The 5-1 finish over the last six games this year will do for Hornet Nation what last year's 4-3 finish did: give everyone hope.

Has Hornets interim head coach Donald Hill-Eley earned the right to have the interim tag removed?

What's the new vision for Alabama State President Dr. Quinton Ross and interim ASU athletic director Jennifer Lynne Williams?

These are questions that will be answered in due time, but the Hornets have fought back each of the last three seasons no matter the coach or administration.