By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Appearance usually counts for something on a homecoming night, but that wasn’t the case for the Gadsden State women’s basketball team on Monday (Feb. 17) at Beck Field House.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Lady Cardinals grinded out a 79-71 victory over Lawson State in their homecoming game.
Gadsden State improved to 22-5 and 5-3 in the Alabama Community College Conference North Division standings.
Despite leading by double digits for most of the second half, the outcome remained in doubt until just under a minute remained. After two quick baskets from Kari Jones pulled the Lady Cougars within eight points, Lacey Buchanon scored four points in the span of 20 seconds to provide Gadsden State with some breathing room at 78-69.
Shauntece Catlin canned a free throw with 33 seconds left to make it a 10-point cushion.
For the Lady Cardinals, Carla Clemmons shot 90 percent (8-for-11) from the field on the way to 22 points. She also had eight rebounds.
Taylor Adams shot 83 percent (10-for-12) at the free throw line on the way to 16 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds.
Buchanon chipped in 13 points (nine in the second half) and four assists, while Sarah Garner knocked down three 3-point baskets for nine points.
Jordan Gray cleared eight rebounds.
Gadsden State shot 69 percent (27-for-39) from the foul line to Lawson State’s 67 percent (15-for-22).
Although pleased with the win, head coach John Butts was concerned with his squad’s uneven performance.
“We just didn’t finish, especially in the second half. We gave up way too many drives to the basket and three-point plays, and that’s not good. There were too many times when either a rebound or a pass tipped our fingers and went out of bounds or to the other team, so there are some things that we’ve got to clean up.”
Aside from the game’s first few minutes, the closest the Lawson State got in the first half was 20-18 at 8:32.
Gadsden State then put together a 13-4 run that stretched the advantage to 10 points with 5:05 left.
The visitors narrowed the gap to 39-32 at intermission and stayed within single digits until midway through the second half, when an 18-10 stretch provided the Lady Cardinals with a 70-56 lead with 6:05 remaining.
The Lady Cougars held a 15-9 scoring advantage down the stretch.
Jamarra Taylor led Lawson State with a double-double 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Keri Jones added 16 points, followed by Ashley McCrear with 10. Both Jones and McCrear had eight rebounds.
“Any conference win is huge, at home or on the road,” said Butts. “Sometimes you just have to grind them out.”