Sells Ignites Lady Pilots in Comeback Victory Over SUNO
March 04, 2009
Shreveport, La. – The LSUS Lady Pilots rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat the SUNO Lady Knights 56-46 in the quarterfinals of the GCAC Tournament on Wednesday night at The Dock.
Janai Sells scored 20 of her game-high 20 points in the final 20 minutes to carry the Lady Pilots to just their second postseason victory in the program’s six-year history.
LSUS shot a miserable 22% (6-for-27) in the first half, while committing 10 turnovers and getting outrebounded 27-19. 12 of the Lady Knights 27 rebounds came on the offensive end, as they capitalized on their extra opportunities to score 18 second-chance points and take a 30-18 lead into the break.
However, with their season potentially on the brinks, LSUS responded to a very spirited halftime speech by Head Coach Ronnie Howell and outscored the visitors 12-3 over the first seven minutes of the second half.
“At halftime, I told our girls that we needed to play better on the defensive end and with more intensity overall,” said Howell. “We allowed 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, and that was because they were playing with a lot more effort than we were. I challenged our team to play harder and with more focus and determination in the second half, and they responded in a big way.”
The Lady Pilots took their first lead of the game since leading 4-2 just five minutes into the contest at the 10:23 mark on a made three-point basket by Whitney Hollins, and that is when Sells took over the game.
Sells connected on five of the Lady Pilot’s six made field-goals over the final ten minutes and assisted on the other basket with a beautiful dump-off pass to Quan Joseph for the layup.
After going 0-for-3 from the field in the first half, Sells finished the game 9-for-15, while also pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds for the double-double.
“Because SUNO was running a triangle-and-two defense on Valerie (Huizar) and Whitney (Hollins), we really needed somebody to step up in a big way,” added Howell. “Fortunately for us, Janai did that in the second half.”
Fellow senior Quan Joseph also recorded a double-double in the win, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 boards.
With the win, the Lady Pilots will host Xavier of New Orleans in the semifinals of the GCAC Tournament. LSUS has defeated Xavier twice already this season and will look to move one-step closer to a National Tournament bid on Friday night at The Dock. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 P.M.