By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
MADISON COUNTY —
The Lady Colonels used a late second-half run to subdue a winless Jacksonville State team, 80-69, Saturday in McBrayer Arena.
EKU led 32-18 after back-to-back three pointers by Marie Carpenter and Brittany Coles with 3:11 left in the first half.
The Lady Gamecocks responded with a 10-2 run of their own to slice the lead to 34-28 with only 30 seconds to go, then Carpenter drained another three at the buzzer to give the Lady Colonels a 37-28 lead at the half.
The Lady Colonels were up 44-35 after another three by Coles three minutes into the second half when once again JSU made a run, outscoring EKU 13-3 to take a 48-47 lead.
Coles quickly answered back for EKU, draining a three to put the Lady Colonels back on top 50-48.
Leading by one, at 51-50, a steal and basket by Carpenter seemed to jump-start the Lady Colonels a little as they outscored JSU 12-4 to go up 63-54.
But once again JSU stormed back and was down by only two at 65-63 with six minutes remaining.
The Lady Colonels then turned up the defensive pressure causing several of JSU’s 22 turnovers in the game, and converting them into points on the other end, going on a 19-2 run to pull away for good.
“It’s a win and we’ll take it,” EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said. “Before the game we talked about staying in every possession. I felt like at times we let our guard down and they made their runs. But we figured it out and we bounced back and found a way to finish.”
When the Lady Colonels were struggling early, Miranda Maples and Shelley Harper came into the game and provided some much needed energy and jump-started the team.
Roberts said she wasn’t surprised by the play of the two because she sees it in practice.
“What you saw out of them is what we see every day. They go extremely hard. They are getting better in their decision making, they’re defense is stronger and they are able to play more minutes,” Roberts said. “They have both been working extremely hard this week and it shows. Miranda was being very active on the floor, making the reads and having a sense of urgency getting the basketball.”
Carpenter led the way for the Lady Colonels with a game-high 23 points, four assists and four steals, while Coles finished with a season-high 18 points and six rebounds and Alex Jones recorded her 34th double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and three steals.
Six other players scored in the game. Maples, Harper and Raechelle Gray had six points each, while LaRae Allen had five points and seven rebounds, Jalisa Bryant had three points and Pilar Walker added two points.
The Lady Colonels return to action Monday when they take on Tennessee Tech, the team they are tied with in the OVC East Division, at 7 p.m.