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Baton Rouge native Bryana Langford leads Southeastern to blow out opening day win over Alcorn State
HAMMOND, La. – The first Southeastern Louisiana Athletics event in 258 days was an overwhelming success, as the SLU women's basketball team earned a convincing 99-65 victory over Alcorn State in the 2020-21 season opener for both teams Wednesday afternoon in the University Center.
SLU (1-0) earned its first season-opening victory to open a season since the 2011-12 campaign thanks in large part to the program's most explosive offensive performance in more than a decade. Southeastern's scoring output was its highest since a 113-53 victory over Millsaps on Dec. 19, 2009.
The Lady Lions were efficient on the way to the one-sided victory over the visiting Lady Braves (0-1). Southeastern connected on 64.2 percent (34-for-53) of its field goal attempts, including a blistering 13-for-20 performance from behind the arc. SLU was credited with 20 assists and also made 85.7 percent (18-for-21) of their free throw tries.
"Our players have been working extremely hard, so we were just excited to have the opportunity to be back on the court," Southeastern head coach Ayla Guzzardo said. "All the extra work we've put in paid off with our ability to make open shots."
Guzzardo also praised her team for their unselfishness, as the Lady Lions dished out 20 assists as a team.
"This group plays very well together and I was really pleased with their unselfishness today," Guzzardo commented. "It all starts off the court. Our players are great people and that translates into them being great teammates."
Newcomer Bryana Langford led a balanced Lady Lion effort with 18 points in her Division I debut. Langford was one of five SLU players in double figures, along with Chrissy Brown (14 points), Hailey Giaratano (13 points), Natalie Kelly (13 points) and Breonca Ducksworth (11 points). Ducksworth and Cierria Cunningham shared team-high honors with five assists apiece, as all 10 active Lady Lions scored.
Southeastern did much of its damage from behind the arc, as Brown (4-for-4), Langford (4-for-5) and Giaratano (3-for-4) were deadly from long range. Brown (nine rebounds) and Kelly (eight rebounds) flirted with double-doubles and paced the Lady Lions to a 33-22 rebounding advantage.
The duo of Cayla Obillo and Kirdis Clark paced Alcorn State with 18 and 12 points, respectively. Clark also led all players with a game-high three steals.
Brown hit three shots from behind the arc in the game's first three and a half minutes to set the tone early for SLU. Langford, Giaratano and Daija Harvey all added treys of their own to stake the Lady Lions to a 32-18 lead after one quarter.
Alcorn State would get as close as 10 early in the second quarter, but SLU started to pull away. Kelly scored a team-high nine points in the period, which Southeastern closed with a 10-3 run to take a 56-35 lead. The point total set a new University Center record for most points in the first half.
Morgan Carrier and Brown combined to score the first seven points of the third quarter to quell any hopes of an Alcorn State comeback. SLU maintained a lead of at least 21 for the rest of the contest. The Lady Lions closed the game on a 12-1 run on the way to its most lopsided season-opening victory since a 105-46 victory over Loyola (N.O.) to open the 2001-02 campaign.
SLU will head to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to compete in the 33rd Annual Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by Southern Miss. The Lady Lions will open the tournament on Friday with a 6 p.m. game versus Troy, before facing host USM on Saturday at 5 p.m.
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