By Russell Moore
The Cullman Times
Wallace State’s women’s basketball team needed one clutch shot to get over the hump against Alabama Southern in their Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) quarterfinal game Monday night at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Freshman Kendall Greene delivered the shot in the arm. Her 3-pointer from the right corner, with 4:56 remaining in the game, broke a 39-39 tie, handed Wallace State its first lead of the game and eventually lifted the Lady Lions to a gritty 47-42 victory.
Wallace State (22-9) had to chip away at multiple deficits in both halves, including falling behind 11-0 at the outset of the game. The Lady Lions, who earned a bye until Monday as the North Division’s second seed, buckled down each time and outlasted Alabama Southern down the stretch, earning a matchup with Lawson State in Tuesday’s semifinal, beginning at 7 p.m.
“I’m very proud of our girls. We never panicked when we got down 11-0. I think the early deficit was because of some nerves, hype and playing on our home court. Alabama Southern is a good team, and it was the third time we played them,” said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette, whose program is seeking its second state championship in three seasons. “This time of the year is all about surviving and advancing. I’m excited that we gutted this one out and live to see another one. We held them to 42 points and that’s phenomenal. You’re going to win when you hold an opponent to that on defense.”
Ashley Nance finished with 14 points and five rebounds for the Lady Lions, Jaylan Snowden scored nine points and collected 12 rebounds, and Lauren Harris finished with four points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Wallace State’s defense closed the game in dominating fashion, keeping Alabama Southern scoreless during the final 3:03. After Greene’s 3-pointer, Nance delivered a three-point play, and Brandee Busenlehner hit a pair of free throws with 21.4 seconds remaining to seal the win.
For Alabama Southern, the South’s No. 3 seed, Gabrielle Brown paced the way with 15 points.
All four remaining tournament teams are from the North Division. Shelton State and Gadsden State will play Tuesday at 5 p.m., followed by Wallace State-Lawson State. Both games will mark the third meetings between the teams.