The no. 24 LSU Shreveport Lady Pilots lost a tough contest on the road to the University of St. Thomas Celts 79-76 in overtime in Red River Athletic Conference action.
The Lady Pilots had multiple chances to escape Houston with a win but Byroneshia Santiago could not convert the three-point play as she missed the free-throw following a game-tying bucket with seven seconds remaining. Moments later Shanovia Gamblin came away with a steal and had a chance to win it at the buzzer but the shot did not fall.
Instead the Celts prevailed in overtime on a night where LSUS head coach Ronnie Howell said they out played his club, "We did not deserve to win. The best team won tonight. You have to play for 40 minutes and we did not do that. We did not come to play in the first half. St. Thomas deserves all the credit. They simply outplayed us tonight."
The Lady Pilots shot a slim 37-percent in the first half while St. Thomas enjoyed a half of 54-percent shooting as the home team took a 45-29 lead into the locker room at the half. LSUS played better in the second half shooting 41-percent while holding the Celts to 29-percent from the floor for the remainder of the game.
The Celts hit 11 of 13 free throws after the break while the Lady Pilots made just six out of 11.
LSUS did manage a pair of double-doubles with Santiago pouring in 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds while Jenna Diakos added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Shanovia Gamblin led the Lady Pilots with 21 points while Kiara Taylor tossed in 10.
The Celts enjoyed a night where two of their three double figure scorers toped 20 points with Chelsea Davis recording the game's third double-double with the game's high of 26 points and 12 rebounds while Gaby Guzman added 24 points. Emily Sebo had 13 points.
Perhaps things might have turned out different for the Lady Pilots had they played better in the first half or maybe if they had hit a few more free throws in the second half the game may have never reached overtime.
The Lady Pilots will need to regroup in a hurry as they face Paul Quinn, a team that has just won two games in 15 tries this season, tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. in Dallas. The Tigers lost to Wiley 103-48 tonight.
HOUSTON, Tex. - The 15th-ranked LSU Shreveport Pilots had their 11-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night as they lost their first Red River Athletic Conference game of the season 75-69 to the St. Thomas Celts. The Pilots trailed at the half 39-25.
LSUS head coach Kyle Blankenship was pleased with the second half surge by the Pilots but it just was not enough, "I'm very proud of the way we competed in the second half. We just dug ourselves in too deep of a hole against a very well coached and talented team. We just failed to show up in the first 20 minutes."
Will Nelson and Brandon Davis were the only LSUS shooters to collect double figures against the St. Thomas defense. Nelson led the Pilots collecting another double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds while Davis added his usual double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Pilots outscored the Celts in the second half 44-36 but it was not enough tonight as the 21 LSUS turnovers were too much to overcome. The Celts made 20 of 25 free-throw attempts in the second half while the Pilots made 15 out of 19 from the charity stripe.
Both teams made 21 field goals and seven from downtown, the difference in the game was turnovers (LSUS-21, UST-14) and the six extra free-throws made by the home squad.
Deric Dudley led the Celts with 29 points while Sean Edwards and Kevin Williams each tossed in 11 points.
"We now have to find a way to bounce back and be ready to play again on the road tomorrow night," Coach Blankenship concluded as his Pilots will travel to Dallas to take on Paul Quinn tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.