The smallest member of the Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team -- at 5-2 -- had a big night in an 83-77 victory at Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College to conclude the fall semester portion of the 2013-14 campaign on a positive note.
Gwyn recorded the first double-double of her collegiate career with 11 points and 10 rebounds, which beat her previous best performance to date by five boards.
She also added five assists, tying her top number ever in that category from a matchup last season with Wallace State (Ala.) Community College at Hanceville, and three steals in the last Northeast sporting event of the calendar year.
“I think it’s pretty cool since there were a lot of tall players out there,” said Gwyn. “I just think I was in the right place at the right time and did what I had to do for us to get this win.”
Gwyn, a Kossuth High School product, dropped in a trey two minutes into the contest to jump-start a Lady Tiger offense that scored 11 of the initial 13 points against the Lady Generals.
A Lexy Lindsey steal on one end turned into an old-fashioned three-point play for Teresa Mays on the other side of the court. Her free throw gave Northeast its first double digit lead at 19-8 with 11:45 left in the opening half.
The Lady Tigers capitalized on Jackson State’s mistakes all evening and scored 26 crucial points off turnovers, including on a Daisha Williams steal and basket in the waning moments before the break.
Williams then capped the period with a huge make from behind the arc that sent Northeast (4-6) into the locker room ahead 39-32.
A quick run of three straight baskets from Antionette Riddle, Ayana Ragin and Mays gave the Lady Tigers their largest advantage of the matchup at 48-36 with 14:39 remaining.
Jackson State (4-5) fought back into the game and came within one-possession of the lead at the 3:19 mark after two Victoria Douglas free throws.
Two Paige Hicks makes from the charity stripe put the Lady Generals down just 71-70, but Riddle forced a crucial turnover by stealing the ball from Samantha Fernandez and going the distance for a layup that seemingly took the wind out of Jackson State’s sails.
“I thought that was the play of the game,” Northeast head coach Brian Alexander said. “If we don’t make that play and they score I thought the momentum would have completely shifted the other way.”
The Lady Tigers hit 5 of 8 free throws in the final 90 seconds and got a late basket from Gwyn to seal their triumph inside the Jackson State Gymnasium.
An oustanding six Northeast athletes hit double figures. It is the first time in over five years and the initial instance in the Alexander era for the Lady Tigers to achieve this feat.
Aushiana Ivy headed the incredible offensive effort with 15 points. She added 12 boards for the fifth double-double of her freshman campaign.
“I just do what my coaches tell me and box out to get my rebounds,” said the former Shannon High School standout. “Coach (Alexander) always tells me to go, so that’s what I do.”
Mays notched her fourth double digit outing in a row with 14 points in a career-high 35 minutes. Williams finished with 12 points and was 50 percent shooting from the field.
Jasmine Allen and Riddle scored 13 apiece and were a combined 9 of 12 on free shots to round out a team that shot hit 39.1 percent of its attempts, the second best total of the year.
Thursday’s matchup was also the second straight 80-plus point performance for Northeast. The last time the Lady Tigers accomplished this was on November 5, 2012 against East Central Community College and November 8, 2012 versus Wallace State-Hanceville.
“This is one of those nights where we were able to get multiple people involved,” said Alexander, “and we’re just excited to see the success that they had on the floor tonight.”
The Lady Generals had four double figure scorers as well, led by Nikki Cole and Douglas. The duo combined to account for 37 points and 32 rebounds.
Jackson State was held to just 22.2 percent from beyond the arc. It is the sixth game that Northeast’s defense has held its opponent to that number or less from three-point range.
After 26 days away from competition, the Lady Tigers begin the latter half of its schedule on Tuesday, January 7 against Jones County Junior College. Tipoff of the doubleheader is set for 5:30 p.m. at Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
(W) Northeast 83, Jackson St. 77
Halftime: Northeast, 39-32.
Leading scorers: (NE) Aushiana Ivy 15, Teresa Mays 14, Jasmine Allen 13, Antionette Riddle 13, Daisha Williams 12, Kiki Gwyn 11; (JS) Nikki Cole 19, Victoria Douglas 18, Paige Hicks 16, Chelsea Wyatt 12.
Records: Northeast 4-6, Jackson State 4-5.