Wallace State sophomore Morgan Higgins (15) shoots over Alabama Southern’s Johnell Norwood (24) during the first quarter of their ACCC tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
HANCEVILLE – A scorching start easily sent Wallace State’s women’s basketball team into the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 semis after a convincing 102-54 quarterfinal victory over Alabama Southern at Lawson State’s Arthur Shores Fine Arts Building on Wednesday afternoon.
The Lady Lions (22-9) jumped out to an insurmountable 34-5 cushion by the end of the first quarter and surpassed the 100-point plateau for the second time this season.
“It was by far the best 40 minutes we’ve played all year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We shot the ball well and can be dangerous when we get that hot,” said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette. “I told the team we’ve knocked two wins out the way and we’re halfway there. We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and come back on Thursday at 1 p.m.”
Six Wallace State players finished with double figures, and the 3rd-seeded Lady Lions drained 16 3-pointers as a squad.
Wallace State sophomore Kelsey Houston scored a game-high 24 points behind six 3-pointers. Alex Lowery poured in 18 points off the bench for the Lady Lions, Morgan Higgins had 14 points and eight rebounds, Joy Sadler finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, Alexis Osteen had 11 points off the bench and Gabby Hill added 10 points.
Wallace State shot 47.1 percent (16 of 34) from behind the 3-point arc and 51 percent from the field. The Lady Lions also made 12 of 15 free throws and outrebounded Alabama Southern, 43-29.
Houston, a Tanner graduate, led the conference in 3-pointers made during the regular season and has sizzled from 3-point territory in two postseason games. Houston nailed seven 3-pointers in the ACCC opening round last Friday and now has 13 in two tournament games.
“Kelsey has definitely been in the zone lately. She has a certain look in her eye, and it’s a great time to shine,” Burdette said.
Wallace State padded its lead to 64-23 by the half and at 84-39 by the end of the third quarter.
Fittingly, Houston made the final 3-pointer for Wallace State in the closing seconds, pushing the Lady Lions past the 100-point mark.
Alabama Southern (12-16) was led by Shamina Hunter’s 21 points. The Lady Eagles entered as the South Division’s No. 2 seed.
Wallace State, which is seeking its first conference title since 2011 and second NJCAA national tournament appearance in three seasons, advances to play eighth-ranked Shelton State at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Shelton State (28-2) was an 87-51 winner over Gadsden State on Wednesday.
“No matter if it’s the semifinals or the championship game, we are going to play Shelton State in this tournament every year,” Burdette said. “We are going to lace it up and see what happens.”
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu.