Lewis Dominates With 21 Points, Alabama A&M Drops 58-50 in SWAC Quarterfinals

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Dariauna Lewis scored 21 points and hauled in a whopping 20 rebounds as A&M fell 58-50 to Grambling in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Quarterfinal on Thursday, March 11. Photo from Alabama A&M.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A 15-2 run to start the fourth quarter was too much for Alabama A&M to overcome as they dropped a 58-50 decision to No. 5 Seed Grambling in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Quarterfinal and NCAA Division I women’s basketball game on Thursday, March 11.

As she has been all year long, junior forward Dariuana Lewis was a driving force for the Bulldogs as she scored 21 points and ripped down 20 boards in 39 minutes of work.

She was joined by freshman guard Darian Burgin with nine points and three steals and redshirt-junior center Elexis Evans with six points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. Senior guard Deshawna Harper rounded out the top performers with nine points.

As a No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed matchup should be, it was close from the very beginning as the teams battled through two ties and a pair of lead changes before A&M put together a 6-1 burst for a 14-8 lead by the end of the opening frame.

That lead would extend to seven at 19-12 with 3:24 gone by in the second quarter before the Tigers went on a 12-2 run to flip the script and pull ahead 24-21 by the 2:23 mark. A jumper by Lewis and a layup by Burgin then put the Bulldogs back ahead 25-24 with a minute and a half to play, which would be a margin they would hold as the teams headed to the break.

A&M would pull ahead by four and maintain at least a two-point advantage for much of the first part of the third quarter, something that would come to a close as GSU knotted it up at 32-32 with 5:09 on the clock. Deadlocked at 34-34 seconds later, the Bulldogs would then score the next seven points before closing the frame with a 41-36 lead.

Things would trend drastically in the other direction in the fourth quarter, however, as the Tigers scored the first seven of the period as part of a massive 15-2 run that took them from down five to ahead 51-43 with 2:22 to play. Fueling that run would be Candice Parramore and Alexus Holt with seven and six points, respectively.

Alabama A&M would close to within five on a pair of occasions, the last at 53-48 with 25 seconds to play. They would come no closer than that, however, as GSU converted on five-of-six free throw attempts to salt away the 58-50 quarterfinal victory.

Holt led Grambling with 17 points, going 8-of-10 from the foul line, while Ariel Williams delivered a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds along with three assists. Parramore and Justice Coleman added nine and eight points, respectively, and Jasmine Forte chipped in with six rebounds.

The Bulldogs will now await word on if a postseason opportunity will present itself following a 10-7 overall record and 8-5 mark in the SWAC.

From Joshua Darling with Alabama A&M.