Moving on up
Alyce Shearing powered her way to 18 points and eight rebounds in the Troy Trojans’ 68-65 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in the opening round of the Sun Belt Women’s Tournament Wednesday night in Troy.
Shearing scored the first points of the game and her teammates kept getting the ball down low to her all night.
“We definitely had better feeders at the guard position because a couple of times I was going down court and I was surprised to see the ball in my hands,” Shearing said. “That helps a lot when the defense is coming over the top. We were stronger down low. They had height and athleticism, but we were smarter down low.”
Troy head coach Michael Murphy said the Trojans worked on getting the ball down low to the post players.
“We talked about taking the ball inside and we wanted to exploit that and we did,” Murphy said. “When they started to collapse on the post that is when it opened up shots for Brittnie (Davis) and Kylie (Morrissy) and Mookie (Smith) on the perimeter.”
Davis and Smith both stepped up and hit big shots late in the game for Troy. Davis hit a three-pointer to give Troy a 57-48 lead with 5:13 left and another for a 60-52 advantage with 3:29 left. Smith put Troy up by six points with a three-ball with 25 seconds remaining to play in the game, 65-59. Davis sunk two free throws 14 seconds later and the first proved to be the game winning shot.
“At the beginning of the game I felt like I was struggling and I knew I had to calm myself down and look to my teammates and coach to build up my confidence and I just kept shooting and they went in for me,” Davis said.
Davis finished with 17 points.
Shearing opened the scoring for the Trojans with a layup, but Lafayette took a 4-2 lead with 17:26 remaining in the first half.
The Ragin’ Cajuns built a 21-15 lead, but Troy cut that lead to 21-20 with 7:53 to play in the first. The Trojans took a 24-21 lead and stretched it to 26-23. Shearing continued to push the pace down low with a basket to give Troy a 28-25 lead.
Lafayette stayed close all half and trailed 32-28 at the half.
The Ragin’ Cajuns opened the second half on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 34-34. ULL took the lead at the 16-minute mark, 36-34.
Troy grabbed a lead and pushed it to 40-36. A three-pointer from ULL’s Nicole Morris gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 41-40 lead.
Shearing went hard to the basket for a 48-43 lead and added two more for a 54-47 Troy lead with six minutes left. Davis drained two three-balls for a 60-52 Troy lead.
Alexis Green cut the lead to 62-59 with 57 seconds left to play. Smith drained a three-ball as the shot clock expired to push the lead to 65-59. Morris drained a three-ball to cut the lead back to three at 65-62.
Davis sunk two free throws with 11 seconds left for a 67-62 Troy lead, but Green drained a three for ULL to cut the lead to 67-65.
Morrissy hit 1-of-2 free throws for the 68-65 final.
Troy will square off with South Alabama Mar. 7 at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinals from Hot Springs, Ark.
Click here for a photo gallery of Wednesday’s action