Blazers Hold On For 56-53 Win Over McNeese State

Nov. 29, 2008

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Senior Britney Jones scored 16 points, including six in the final six minutes of the game, to lead the UAB women's basketball team to a 56-53 victory over McNeese State on Saturday afternoon during day two of the Samford Classic. Jones also added a game-high four assists and four steals for the Blazers.

Freshman guard Ashlyn Baggett came off the bench and was the lone player to score in double figures for McNeese State with 17 points.

UAB snapped a four-game losing streak and improved its record to 2-4. McNeese State saw its record fall to 2-5 on the year.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle that had seven lead changes and eight ties. McNeese State took the largest lead of the first half, 12-7, on three-point basket by Baggett at the 12:32 mark.

UAB went on an 8-1 run to take a two-point lead, 15-13, with 9:23 left on the clock. The Blazers took their biggest lead of the opening half, 26-23, on a jumper by Jones at 2:08. UAB went into halftime with a one-point lead over the Cowgirls, 28-27.

UAB came out and extended its lead in the early minutes of the second half. The Blazers continued to sink shots and play hard-nosed defense, taking an eight-point lead, 49-41, with 5:49 left in the game.

McNeese State started to cut into UAB's lead and pulled within one, 49-48, at the 3:49 mark. The Blazers then went on a 7-0 run to go up by eight, 56-48, with 32 seconds remaining in the game. The Cowgirls scored the last five points of the game, but it was not enough as UAB held on for the 56-53 win.

"It was important for us to get this win today," said UAB head coach Audra Smith. "We have played a couple of tough games in the past two weeks and we needed to get back on the winning track and get some confidence.


 

 

"We had some players step up and give us some quality minutes today. We still didn't hit the boards as well as we should have and we have to work on getting our offense going better, but we'll take this win and build off of it."

The Blazers shot 37.5 percent for the game, including 42.3 percent in the second half. UAB hit 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half and 35.0 percent overall. The Blazers struggled from the free throw line, sinking just 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

Jones' 16 points came on 7-of-14 shooting to lead UAB. Junior guard Fatiha Salaam contributed 11 points, four steals and three rebounds. Sophomore Amanda Peterson scored nine points on a trio of three-point buckets and redshirt freshman Ashlee Jackson recorded a career-high seven points for the Blazers.

Junior forward Tamika Dukes paced UAB on the boards with six, while also adding four points and a team-best two blocks.

McNeese State shot 34.0 percent overall, including 60.0 percent (3-of-5) from three-point range. The Cowgirls went to the free throw line 22 times, sinking 16 of their attempts (72.7 percent).

Baggett's 17 points came on 5-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc for McNeese State. Senior forward Jessica Hooker tallied eight points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Cowgirls.

Jones represented UAB on the All-Tournament team after averaging 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game at the Samford Classic. Baggett (McNeese State), Savannah Hill (Samford), Shannon Novosel (Evansville) and Robyn Jennings (Evansville) joined Jones on the All-Tournament team. Jennings was named the tournament's MVP.

UAB will be back in action on Wednesday when it hosts the Florida Gators at 5:30 p.m. CT at Bartow Arena.