Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball head coach Samantha Williams did not mince words in a post-game press conference on Saturday.
“It was an ugly game,” Williams acknowledged.
The Colonels let an early lead slip away as they fell to 0-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 43-33 loss to Jacksonville State at home.
It was the fourth-straight loss for the Colonels (6-7) - and the 24th-consecutive conference loss for EKU.
The Colonels struggled to shoot the ball as they were held to their lowest point total in a game in the past 12 years.
The last time EKU was held to that few points, was in a 90-35 loss to Oklahoma State on Dec. 12, 2008.
Williams said after the game that the Colonels need to regain their confidence.
“Right now, I think we are a little shaky once things don’t go well. We aren’t bouncing back right now when we face adversity. I thought early on (in the season) we did that. Our confidence is shaky, we are hesitant to shoot.. and not being aggressive the way we should be,” the coach explained.
While EKU struggled from the field, the Gamecocks also had a tough shooting performance.
However, it didn’t start that way.
The Colonels ended the first quarter shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field and took an early 7-0 lead after JSU failed to connect on its first eight shots of the game.
Bria Bass scored three points and Davis accounted for four points on a pair of lay-ups. The Colonels led 12-4 at the end of the first quarter after a three-pointer by Catie Kaifes.
However, JSU (5-8, 1-1 OVC) found its rhythm in the second quarter.
After missing all nine of their three-point attempts in the first quarter, the Gamecock were 4-for-9 from deep in the second.
Taylor Hawks’ three at the buzzer sent the visitors to the locker room with their first lead of the game, 19-18.
After that, the Gamecocks never trailed again.
The Gamecocks scored seven of the first nine points of the third quarter to pull in front by six, 26-20.
An offensive rebound and lay-up by De’Ayra Davis right before the buzzer got the Colonels within three, 30-27, with one quarter left to play.
With 8:44 left in the game, Davis once again got EKU back within two, 31-29, off a jumper in the fourth quarter.
It was a close as the Colonels would get as EKU’s 17 fouls started to mount up and shooting woes continued to plague them.
The Colonels were only 3-of-14 from the field in the fourth quarter.
“It was already a battle between who could score the least,” Williams said of the fourth quarter. “You put a team on the line and give them opportunities for free throws — that’s not going to be good. The fouls caught up with us and gave them some opportunities to come back.”
The Gamecocks ended the game on a 9-0 run — five of those points came from the charity stripe.
De’Ayra Davis scored a team-high 10 points. Catie Kaifes added five points. I’Liyah Green had five points and seven rebounds and Bria Bass had five points and six rebounds. Anysa Jordan contributed four points and five rebounds. Qay Stanton had four points, four assists and five steals.
EKU shot 30 percent from the field for the game and made just 1-of-11 (9 percent) from behind the arc. JSU connected on just 28 percent of its attempts from the field and went 5-for-24 (21 percent) from 3-point range.
EKU had 18 turnovers, while JSU snatched up 10 steals.
Kiana Johnson finished with a team-high 13 points for Jacksonville State. Chloe Long had six points and 12 rebounds.
EKU will host Eastern Illinois on Thursday at 5 p.m.