MARIETTA, Ga. – On Saturday afternoon in a Southern States Athletic Conference game at the Hornets Nest, the Southern Polytechnic State University women’s basketball team improved to a perfect 7-0 this season with an 80-50 thumping of the visiting Loyola University Wolf Pack (from New Orleans, La.), who received 37 points in the latest NAIA Division I poll to rank 26th nationally. Southern Polytechnic’s start to the season is the second-best in the program’s history behind the 2009-10 team that began with 16 straight wins and finished 30-5 overall.
“It was another great team performance by the Hornets this afternoon,” Southern Poly head coach Laquanda Dawkins said. “We executed the game plan to detail this afternoon. Defensively we played aggressive and strong for most the game to generate some offense. Offensively we were solid and disciplined in our sets and executed well.”
SPSU fell behind by three points (10-7) early but bounced back to lead 38-20 with 1:56 left in the opening half. Southern Poly led 38-23 at halftime before Loyola twice got within 14 points, the last time at 50-36 with 13 minutes to go. The Hornets’ largest advantage after that was 33 points on three occasions.
The hosts shot a season-high 50.8 percent (31-of-61) from the floor while the Wolf Pack ended at 42.2 percent (19-of-45). SPSU had 17 steals as Loyola finished with 31 turnovers. Southern Poly outrebounded the guests 33-27.
“As a unit our rebounding was key again which allowed us to earn second-chance points,” Dawkins said. “We did a great job of scoring in the paint today because of our rebounding efforts.”
Junior forward Erica Turner collected a season- and game-high 20 points and three steals for the Hornets while junior guard Sarah Ogoke posted 18 points and a game-best 10 rebounds. Senior guard Ashlie Billingslea registered 18 points, along with game highs of seven assists and six steals while Arnissa Galloway, a junior center, also scored 18.
“These ladies work extremely hard for us and we appreciated them and their efforts,” Dawkins said. “I am blessed to coach and work with this group of ladies.”
SPSU is 4-0 in SSAC play while the Wolf Pack are 3-5 overall, including 1-3 in the conference. Southern Poly returns to action on Dec. 15 when facing the Johnson & Wales University Lady Wildcats in a non-conference road contest. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. in North Miami, Fla.