ORANGEBURG, SC–SC State women’s basketball picked up its first win of the season Monday as the Lady Bulldogs defeated UNC-Greensboro 64-53 in Orangeburg.
“I’m so happy for the players,” SC State head coach Tim Eatman said. “People don’t see the hard work they put in every day in practice. It feels good when you start getting results from your effort.”
SC State trailed 18-13 after the first quarter but would take its first lead with 6:47 left before the half. UNC-Greensboro finished the first half with an 11-6 run to take a 29-26 halftime lead.
“We have to continue to learn to play with a purpose,” Eatman said. “I told our team (at halftime) that we can’t let up, we have to stay after them.”
The Lady Bulldogs opened the second half with a 13-0 run, and outscored the Lady Spartans 20-8 in the quarter. SC State’s Lovely Sonnier would lead the team with eight points in the quarter. Sonnier finished with a double-double scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, she also added six steals, four assists and three blocks.
“It feels great (to get that first win),” Sonnier said after the game. “We’ve been struggling, but we finally got that first win.”
SC State opened the season 0-10, with a nine-point loss to Queens University being the high spot on the schedule. Sonnier said the Lady Bulldogs were able to be more consistent Monday against UNC-Greensboro.
“We played as a team, played with positivity and left it all out on the court,” Sonnier said.
Defensively, South Carolina State forced 29 turnovers as the Lady Bulldogs used multiple press looks to bother the Lady Spartans.
Eatman said the biggest difference in Monday’s game was having eight players dressed. The Bulldogs have been playing with only six players, making it hard for Eatman to run his style of defense.
“When I came here, I told people we were going to press from the time the opposing team got off the bus until the final horn,” Eatman said. “(Tonight’s team) that’s who we are, and once we get everyone back we should be even more successful.”
Eatman said he expects Mekayla Lumpkin and Gift Sampson to return to the team later this week. SC State will face Alabama A&M at home Sunday beginning at 2 p.m.
“We’re in Christmas Break,” Eatman said. “The team’s I’ve been a part of, traditionally, get better during this time of year. The things we learn over these next 10 days have to carry us through January and February.”
Jayah Hicks scored 12 points and added seven rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs before fouling out with just over two minutes left in the game.