MONROE, La. – Sharnice Brooks starred for ULM on Friday evening, netting 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field as the Warhawks downed Southeastern Louisiana at Fant-Ewing Coliseum by a final score of 87-77.
Brooks led all scorers with her 22 points, a new career-high. The junior from Bastrop, La., also recorded a career-high 26 minutes of playing time and fell just a single rebound short of a double-double with nine. She also tallied a pair of blocks and a steal on the night.
Ashleigh Simmons (16) and Jasmine Shaw (10) joined Brooks in double figures. Simmons stuffed the stat line with eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in 27 minutes, while Shaw knocked down a pair of three-pointers in 19 minutes of action.
The Warhawks continued to move the ball well as they did through the first two games of the season. The squad racked up 21 assists, including a career-high nine from Alexar Tugler, compared to just nine for the Lady Lions.
Aja Gibson led the way for Southeastern with 20 points; Symone Miller (19), Nanna Pool (12), Annessa De La Cruz (12) and Elizabeth Styles (10) all joined her in double figures. Pool had a double-double with 11 rebounds, while Styles recorded six assists.
Once again the deciding factor in the game was points in the paint. ULM outgained Southeastern by a 46-20 margin under the basket and 20-5 on second-chance points as Brooks and Simmons utilized their size inside to control the matchup.
Southeastern grabbed the early advantage over ULM on the back of a pair of three-pointers from De La Cruz. Despite two early baskets from Brooks and a shot from behind the arc by Shaw, the Lady Lions took a 10-8 lead into the first media timeout at the 15:43 mark.
Five quick points from Jasmine Taylor, including the first three-pointer of her career, put the Warhawks out in front, 15-12, with 14:51 remaining in the half. Southeastern closed the gap to one, but Shaw’s second deep ball of the game at 11:47 preserved ULM’s lead through the next media timeout.
A Gibson layup cut ULM’s advantage to just two, 22-20, at the 10:15 mark, but the Warhawks exploded for an 8-0 run with points from four different players to build their biggest lead of the night. Despite the gap, the Lady Lions twice rallied to cut the lead to just three.
ULM would not allow the lead to slip away, however. Simmons and Brooks scored six points in the final 2:15 of the half to keep Southeastern at bay as the Warhawks carried a 40-33 lead into the halftime break.
Over the first four minutes of the second half, ULM seized control of the game and took its first double-digit lead of the contest. Buoyed by a 13-6 run that included four more points by Brooks and the first basket of Aleesha Coulter’s Warhawk career, ULM jumped on top of the Lady Lions by a 53-39 margin with 16:09 remaining.
Southeastern refused to go away quietly. They trimmed the lead to just 10 (60-50) following a Miller layup with 8:44 left in the game that capped a 6-0 run. Even with the Lady Lions closing in, though, ULM never allowed the lead to slip under double digits. Whitney Wilson drilled an open jumper to build the lead back to 12 and the Warhawks again held strong and remained fully in control of the game.
ULM continued to lead by the same comfortable double-digit margin until a string of four free throws by Southeastern made it 82-73 with just 1:43 left on the clock. On the next possession, the Lady Lions came up with a steal and went coast-to-coast for the fast-break basket and a three-point play by Miller that slashed the lead to just six, 82-76.
The Warhawks hung on down the stretch thanks to strong free throw shooting in the final minute. Brooks knocked down all four of her attempts and Christina Gray hit one of her two chances to reach the final tally of 87-77 in favor of ULM.ULM will return to action next Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. as the squad heads to Conway, Ark., to take on Central Arkansas. The Warhawks will be looking to avenge a 62-49 setback against the Sugar Bears in 2012-13. A win would also be the first in program history against Central Arkansas.
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