(ISN) – (Dover, Del.) – Saturday afternoon, the Delaware State women’s basketball team (5-16, 2-6 MEAC) pulled out its second straight nail-biting victory, this time with guard Aaliyah Davis swishing a half court 3-point buzzer beater to lift the Lady Hornets over the visiting Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (9-13, 6-4 MEAC), 72-71.
“I told myself when I got the ball that I had to get the shot off and just let it go,” said Davis, who was playing in only her fifth game this season, after serving as a team manager. “This game meant a lot and it was definitely a confidence booster for myself.”
This win for Delaware State not only snapped a five-game skid in conference play, but it ended Bethune-Cookman’s five-game winning streak. Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Wildcats also sat second in the MEAC standings behind the Hampton Pirates.
“We just really tried to come out and stick to our game plan today, which was to feed the post,” said head coach Tamika Louis. “I think what we’re realizing right now is that if we stick to it, we can be successful for the rest of the season.”
With DSU leading by as many as 11 in the opening stanza, behind forward Tierra Hawkins’ 13 points (5-of-6), guard Mikah Aldridge drained a pair of free throws to put the Hornets up 60-51 at the 4:33 mark. However, the Wildcats cut the deficit to four a little over a minute later with an Alea Godfrey deuce, followed by DSU suffering a huge blow with Aldridge fouling out with 2:33 left.
“It’s really tough when she’s not on the floor because the offense does not run as fluently,” said Louis said of Aldridge, who finished with 15 points (4-of-11) and a game-high six assists.
As a result, Bethune-Cookman’s Emily Williams drained her fourth trey to knot the game at 69 with 19 seconds left, whereas Hawkins turned the ball over on DSU’s ensuing possession. Unfortunately for the Hornets, guard Kendra Cooper came away with the loose ball and was fouled by Davis on the other end while shooting. With 1.5 seconds left, Cooper drained both free throws to give the Wildcats their first lead of the afternoon.
Not taking a timeout, DSU’s Nikkei Blackburn inbounded the ball to Davis with 1.5 seconds left, who connected for her first-career 3-pointer.
“The funny thing is, Aaliyah had a chance to win the game for us at the buzzer against South Carolina State last Saturday,” added Louis. “I told her that she would get another opportunity win a game somewhere down the line.”
At game’s end, Hawkins tallied her second consecutive double-double with a game-high 34 points (14-of-16) and 10 rebounds. With this performance, Hawkins matched a career-high in points (34) and field goals made (14), in addition to moving into third all-time on DSU’s scoring list with 1,656.
“Whenever I got the ball, I just let the game come to me and just got to the basket,” said Hawkins.
Crawford, meanwhile, poured in a team-high 15 points (7-of-11) off the bench to lead the way for five Lady Wildcats scoring in double figures. Defensively, B-CU’s leader in steals (56) Terrenisha Hollis collected a game-high nine.
Coming up, Delaware State will aim for a season-long three-game winning streak Monday evening (5:30 p.m.) against the Florida A&M Rattlers. Last season, the Columbia Blue & Red went 0-2 against FAMU, including an 86-58 loss in the opening round of the MEAC Tournament.
DSU shot 51 percent (26-of-51) from the field, in addition to forward Amber Bogard finishing with 11 points (4-of-9)… B-CU was held to 40 percent (29-of-72), including a 4-for-17 (.235) effort from long distance… The Lady Hornets won the battle on the boards (43-34), led by forward/center Nikkei Blackburn’s game-high 11 boards.