NEWARK, N.J. – The University of North Alabama women's basketball team built a 24-point lead in the second half before holding off Southeast Missouri State 80-27 Saturday at the NJIT Thanksgiving Classic in Newark, N.J. Four players reached double figures in scoring as the Lions improved to 6-0 on the season.
UNA used a dominating performance in the second and third quarters to take control. After North Alabama took an 18-17 lead into the second quarter of play, SEMO scored six straight points to grab a 23-18 lead. The Redhawks, however, would not hit a shot from the floor again as UNA responded with a 20-1 run to close the half.
Baskets by Ivy Wallen and Kenysha Coulson cut the deficit to one before Savannah Stult converted a three-point play to give the Lions the lead for good. The UNA defense forced seven turnovers down the stretch while SEMO was 0-for-4 from the field over the final 6:52 of the half. North Alabama took a 38-24 lead into the break.
UNA extended its lead in the third quarter with a 26-18 run. A basket by Wallen at the 3:20 mark gave the Lions their largest lead of the game at 58-34. Stults scored 11 points in the period to lead North Alabama.
Southeast Missouri State made its move in the fourth quarter. The Redhawks outscored UNA 25-16, and was able to get within single digits in the closing minutes. SEMO got a free throw with 1:25 remaining to make the score 73-64 and added a jumper on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to seven points.
Emma Wallen was able to stop the run with two free throws as UNA scored seven of the game's final 11 points.
Coulson led the Lions with 18 points. Stults added a three-pointer and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line for 16 points. Ivy Wallen scored 14 points while Emma Wallen also reached double figures with 10 points for the game.
Jocelyn Taylor led Southeast Missouri (1-4) with a game-high 19 points.
UNA will remain in New Jersey Sunday to play Western Carolina. Tip-off is set for noon (Eastern) on the campus of NJIT.