ORANGEBURG – The South Carolina State women found poor early shooting and turnovers down the stretch too much to overcome Saturday in dropping a closely contested 63-61 decision to visiting Morgan State Saturday during basketball homecoming weekend.
Former Bulldog basketball players, other Bulldog athletes and alumni were invited back to the campus for a weekend of activities which included a Friday evening reception, a Saturday morning brunch and a Saturday night Wakanda social. The returning athletes were recognized during halftime of the men’s contest.
The Lady Bulldogs enjoyed a 38-22 advantage in rebounds but shot just 38.5 percent (20-52) from the field and committed 22 turnovers, six in the final three minutes, in dropping to 11-12 on the season and 4-5 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Rhein Beamon tossed in 14 points, including a 4-7 effort from behind the arc, to pace Coach Audra Smith’s team in scoring. Esther Udonsi added 12 points, all on three-pointers, and Taylor Brown contributed 10 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Jaquanna Murray had a team-leading nine rebounds to go with three points for SC State.
Morgan State, which earned a sweep of the Lady Bulldogs for the 2018-19 campaign, was paced by Adre’onia Coleman and Kayla Horne with 13 points each. Ashia McCalla added 12 points in the Lady Bear victory, which lifted the Morgan State to 8-16 and 6-4 in the MEAC.
The contest, which was tight from start to finish, was tied 12-12 after one period and 40-all after three. The Lady Bulldogs led 25-24 at the half.
The Lady Bears took a six-point 54-48 lead on a three-pointer by Horne with 4:11 remaining, but SC State got back-to-back 3-pointers by Udonsi and Beamon to deadlock the contest at 54-all with 2:01 on the clock.
But consecutive SC State turnovers led to five straight Lady Bear points and a 59-54 Morgan State lead with just 45.2 seconds to play. The Lady Bulldogs closed the gap to three twice before getting to within 63-61 with 10 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Brown, who was fouled on the play but unable to convert the free throw.
SC State had possession twice in the final 10 seconds but was unable to convert a potential tying or winning basket. The loss was particular disappointing for Coach Audra Smith’s team, which was playing the first game of a four-game home MEAC stand.
The Lady Bulldogs will try to rebound Monday when they host Coppin State in a MEAC doubleheader, beginning at 5:30 p.m.