Women’s basketball comes up short at home against Lee Flames/Caroline Hunt

The Lady Choctaws Basketball team came home after Christmas break to play their first weeknight game back against Lee University. However, Mississippi College came up short at the end, dropping a 75-64 contest at A.E. Wood Coliseum. As the Flames took the lead, the home team athletes took some notes for their next game and left it all on the court. 

The last 12 matchups between the Lady Choctaws and Lee have resulted in the Clinton team’s defeat, making this 13th encounter a nail in the coffin for MC. Lee University now has a record of 13-3 in all-conference games contrasting Mississippi College’s 8-8, meaning that the team has much to prove as the March 1rst GSC Tournament looms closer.  

Scoring leader freshman Ally Alford put up 23 points for the Choctaws as well as incurring a season-high of nine rebounds in one game in the matchup against Lee. 

Other notable players for the Choctaws included Dezirae King, a junior guard from Houston, TX, who tallied 18 minutes of game time, wagering her season-high of 13 points, which made her the second scoring leader of the game. Freshman Amelia Bell, who was the second leader in rebounding with eight combined rebounds inside and outside the paint also racked up nine scoring points.

While the team has now lost three consecutive conference games, they are young, with Head Coach Greg Long only on his second season in the position and a majority of their starting lineup being freshmen. With youth, however, comes lots of potential and MC has no shortage of that. 

“What our coaches really want from us, win or lose, is just to finish the game. We had them [Lee] in the first half, and if, we’d been able to finish a little stronger, I think we could have had them in the second half too,” said Bell, an O’Fallon, Ill. native.

Another factor working against the Choctaws is the novel coronavirus, which has been plaguing college sports since early 2020. 

When asked about the loss, Bell stated a large challenge for the team has been the pandemic. 

“COVID, that’s what we’re really working against. Our legs weren’t fresh, and [because of COVID] we had some of our most experienced players out. We even have some girls still recovering from it. So, we were playing really young today,” Bell said. “[Starting as a freshman] is a little nerve-wracking at first, but we are slowly getting more confident, especially because our team has a lot of confidence in us too.”

In the most recent run with Lee, the Lady Choctaws held their own, combatting the technically and mechanically savvy Lee’s man-to-man offense with quick feet on the post, hard drives to the net, and expert three-point shots. 

Alford, as a guard, had to go head to head with in-your-face defense for the entire second half of the Thursday night game and expressed that is what the Lady Choctaws really thrive off of. 

“That type of defense is actually pretty ideal when we’re on the offensive side of it. Yeah, you can be quick as a defender, but we, as a team, are really smart offensively. We may have had the disadvantage experience-wise but matched up individually like that is what we want,” Alford said. “That’s where we are strongest.” 

However great a losing streak, this really signifies that the only way for this fresh-faced team is up. 

The Choctaws are set to play Shorter University on January 22 at 2 p.m.