The Lady Cougars defeated Wallace State on Tuesday night, by a score of 76-70. This puts Cleveland State at 3-2 on the season. Winning game 1 of a 3 game week, the Lady Cougars will look to carry their momentum into their next matchup on Friday against Jackson State.
Julia Gaither and Ebony Kelley led the Lady Cougars, dropping 20 points each. Gaither also tallied 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals while Kelley snagged 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Kyla Braden and Hannah Phillips were also a force on defense each racking up 3 steals while Phillips also delivered 2 blocks. Also worth noting is that Julia Gaither is currently averaging 4.6 steals a game, ranking her 3rd in the NJCAA in total steals.
Cleveland State had to dig into their roster to pull out the win with 3 Lady Cougars missing in action. Taylor Dunn and Abby Hubert were both out due to a violation of team rules while CyCy White was out with an injury. White has since been released from injury protocol and can now begin working her way back into competition.
"We emphasize the fact that we are a team. When one person goes down, the next woman has to step up. We did that last night. I am so proud of the effort, especially the second half effort. We continued to fight. I have been looking for us to consistently fight. It was a team effort last night, from the ones on the floor to the ones cheering from the bench." Said Head Coach Evelyn Thompson.
Coach Thompson continued, "Let me first say that Wallace State is very good. We knew that Wallace State would come out in a full court press. We prepared the last few days for that. We responded well against the press. We were able to break the press and score some quick baskets. They eventually came out of it. We pressured them as well. We thought we could take advantage of our quickness especially up front and get a few turnovers. I am proud of our defensive effort. We had 14 steals last night. We had all five starters flirting with double figures, freshman Jordan Smith with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, Julia Gaither with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals and Ebony Kelley with 20 points, 7 rebounds 2 assists and 3 steals. Peyton Eads chipped in 9 points and 5 rebounds. Kyla Braden with 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. It was a true team effort."
Cleveland State will take on Jackson State next, in game 2 of their 3 game homestand. This matchup will take place on Friday, November 15th, at 5:30 PM.