Walters State erased a five-point deficit by scoring the final eight points of the first half and then took control with a 23-12 burst in the third quarter as the Lady Senators thumped Spartanburg Methodist, 66-51, Tuesday night at ‘Z’ Buda Gymnasium.
It was the first victory after two losses for Walters State and presented Coach Dave Kragel with his 990th career triumph. The Lady Pioneers fell to 2-1 for the year.
Former Morristown West standout Blayre Shultz hit a three from the right corner to start the second-quarter rally and ended it with a layup of a pass from Alexis Thrice.
In between, Haley Comer nailed a long three from the top of the circle. That gave the Lady Senators a 34-31 advantage at intermission.
Jamya Rogers then rifled in 11 points in the third quarter as the Lady Senators started to dominate the backboards and pulled away.
Paris Mullins tossed in 14 points to pace Walters State. Rogers finished with 13 and Shultz had 11 in the victory.
Spartanburg Methodist’s Takeria Legette took game scoring honors with 19 while Jayla Hopkins added 10.
“We’re definitely a team that is in the process of getting better. There’s no doubt about that. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Kragel said. “That’s one of the best Spartanburg teams I’ve seen in a while. They used different presses and switches on defense and just created a lot of problems for our young kids. We threw the ball around everywhere. But we did a better job shooting the ball tonight when we didn’t turn it over, but our free throw shooting was nowhere near what it needs to be.”
The coach went on to say, “One thing I feel we did a lot better on was rebounding,” The Lady Senators had a huge 29-8 margin in the second half and wound up with a 43-21 backboard advantage.
Walters State wound up hitting 26-of-51 from the floor for 51 percent and was good on 4-of-12 three-pointers. The Lady Pioneers shot just 33.3 percent on 22-of-66. They made just 3-of-16 from behind the three point arc thanks to the WSCC defense.
Jalayah Manning grabbed eight stray shots for the Lady Senators while Mullins and Quentarra Mitchell had seven each and Rogers six.
“For us to win basketball games, it’s going to have to be a team victory,” Kragel said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids trying to learn exactly what to do on offense and that’s what it’s going to take.”
After the run to end the half, the Lady Senators scored the first three points of the third frame and then added four more after a bucket by the visitors.
Tamia Bradley scored to get the Lady Pioneers within 41-35, but Rogers scored three baskets and a pair of free throws to spark a dozen unanswered points for Walters State.
It was 57-43 after three quarters and the Lady Senators led by as many as 18 in the final period.
In the first half, five different players scored as the home team grabbed an early 10-4 lead. The lead was 15-12 when Legette hit a three and a short jumper as the Lady Pioneers scored the final seven points of the first period to lead by four.
Spartanburg opened the margin to 23-17 before a seven-point run put the Lady Senators back in front. But Aliyah Whiteside and Josie Earnhardt nailed three’s and Legette made a pair of charity tosses to provide the visitors with their final lead.
WSCC will be back in action on Nov. 13 when they open TCCAA conference play at Chattanooga State. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.