GRAMBLING, La. – It’s been 19 years since the Grambling State University women’s basketball team has entered and played in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, as the Lady Tigers were selected as the 15-seed in the Lexington Regional and will play second-seed Baylor on Friday.
Tip-off at the Ferrell Center, hosted by Baylor, in Waco, Texas is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2 (Play-by-play: Eric Frede; Analyst: Christy Thomascutty).
The Lady Tigers (19-13) punched their ticket to the “Big Dance” after defeating Southern, 72-68, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship game last Saturday. This is the first appearance for Grambling State since 1999 and sixth overall.
In the past tournaments, the Lady Tigers have taken on Vanderbilt (1994), Stanford (1996), Tennessee (1997), Texas Tech (1998) and Alabama (1999).
Baylor (31-1), winners of the Big 12 Championship, saw its last loss on Nov. 18 to UCLA and is riding a 28-game winning streak. Playing a SWAC opponent in the first round is a familiar setting for Baylor, who defeated Texas Southern, 119-30, last season.
The Lady Bears have met a member of the SWAC in the opening round of the tournament three times: Prairie View A&M (2011 and 2013) and Texas Southern (2017).
* Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears are 3-0 against Grambling State, including a 96-42 victory in 2015. This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools and the first since 2015.
* Baylor is averaging 86.6 points per game, while its opponents are averaging 55.9 points.
* The Lady Bears are shooting 51.2 percent (1,079-of-2,108) from the floor and 72.5 percent (463-of-639) from the charity stripe.
* Kalani Brown is one of four players to lead Baylor’s offense in double figures at 20.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Lauren Cox is second on the team with 14.7 points, while Kristy Wallace and Dekeiya Cohen are averaging 12.9 and 12.1 points, respectively.
Baylor’s Last Time Out
* The Lady Bears defeated Texas, 77-69, on March 5 to win its eighth Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament Championship title in the last nine years.
* Cox netted a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds (shooting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line), along with seven blocks and four assists. Brown led the team in scoring, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and one block, Alexis Morris contributed 19 points, two rebounds, three assists and a steal, while Juicy Landrum added 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
* Baylor was 29-of-61 (47.5 percent) from the floor and 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) from the foul line.
Grambling State By The Numbers
* The Lady Tigers are averaging 67.0 points per game, while its opponents are averaging 67.2 points.
* Grambling State is shooting 39.9 percent (780-of-1,957), while its opponents are shooting 40 percent (765-of-1,914).
* All-SWAC First-Team selection and All-Tournament Most Valuable Player honoree, Shakyla Hill leads the team in points (17.1), rebounds (7.5), assists (5.7) and steals (7.5).
* Jazmin Boyd is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points, averaging 2.5 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.7 minutes per game.
* Monisha Neal, an All-SWAC First-Team performer and also an All-SWAC Tournament selection, is third on the team in scoring at 10.3 points per game. She also averages 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals in the 29 games played. The only senior on the team, Neal has reached double figures in scoring 17 times.
Grambling State’s Last Time Out
* In the 2018 Toyota SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship game, the Lady Tigers defeated conference rival Southern, 72-68.
* Shakyla Hill, who was named the 2018 SWAC Most Valuable Player, led Grambling State’s offense with a double-double of 27 points, 10 boards, five assists and three steals. Monisha Neal added 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist and a steal, while Jazmin Boyd tallied 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
* The Lady Tigers shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the floor and 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the free-throw line.
* Should the Lady Tigers defeat Baylor, Grambling State will advance to the second round and face the winner between Michigan and Northern Colorado on Sunday.
Courtesy: Candice Dixson – GSU Athletics