HANCEVILLE — Cullman High graduate Morgan Smith scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the second half, Ashley Rodgers added 11 off the bench and Wallace State’s women’s basketball team won its sixth game in a row Wednesday, beating Alabama Southern 70-61 at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Unlike their previous five wins during the streak, the Lady Lions had to fight harder down the stretch to put away their latest opponent.
“I told our team we didn’t need to stub our toe going into Christmas. We struggled early, but then took a deep breath, got things together and ran it on out. We needed a game like this because I think we were getting a little borderline cocky and maybe thinking we were better than what we really were,” said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette, whose team improved to 10-2 on the season. “We never quit and never panicked and that’s a great sign. I’m real pleased to be where we’re at going into Christmas. We’re going to take a break for Christmas, come back on Dec. 27 and get ready to go again.”
After trailing by seven points in the first half, Wallace State grabbed control of a slim 22-20 advantage on a pair of made free throws by Ashley Rodgers with 7:24 remaining before intermission. Morgan Pearson, Rodgers and Smith then drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for the Lady Lions, increasing their lead to 31-24. Wallace State led 39-28 at the break.
Less than five minutes into the second half, the Lions widened their lead to as many as 17 points. Alabama Southern didn’t go down quietly, though, battling back over the next seven minutes and trimming its deficit to as little as six points on two instances.
Wallace State answered with the last blow, limiting the Lady Eagles to only three points over the final 4:06 of the game.
After scoring only four points apiece in her last two games, Smith was huge for the Lady Lions in the second half, helping Wallace State hold off multiple Alabama Southern runs with timely buckets of her own. Smith, a freshman, also collected six rebounds.
“Once again, we had someone new step up and give us big minutes. Some of our women who have been playing well didn’t have a great game tonight, and that’s going to happen,” Burdette said. “The thing is our team pulls for each other. No one pouts or mopes, which is huge for us in a game like this.
“That’s a good basketball team we beat. I’m certain we’ll run across them again during the state tournament.”
Jasmine Coleman finished with eight points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Lions, barely missing out on her fifth double-double of the season. Pearson contributed nine points off the bench, and Jaylan Snowden scored five points and dished out four assists.
Shannon Watts led Alabama Southern with 14 points, while Jasmine McCants had 11.
Wallace State is idle until Dec. 30, when it will head to Memphis and play Arkansas Baptist College and Southwest Tennessee in consecutive days.