THIBODAUX, La. – Marina Lilly and Cassidy Barrios recorded their first career double doubles for the Nicholls State University women’s basketball team but Grambling State was able to weather a late comeback by the Colonels as Nicholls fell, 69-65, Tuesday night at Stopher Gym.
Despite a balanced scoring effort with four players reaching double figures in points, the shooting struggles continued for Colonels (2-8) as they dropped their fourth straight contest. Nicholls shot just 31.8 percent and had 31 turnovers; however, the team was able to fight back to take the lead after an early nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Barrios led the team with 12 points while adding 11 rebounds and her basket-and-one sparked the Colonels’ late comeback with 7:35 to go. Grambling (3-8) maintained the lead until LiAnn McCarthy (10 points) sank a jumper to put Nicholls ahead, 64-63, at the 3:01 mark, but it was short-lived as the Colonels did not make another field goal the rest of the way.
Grambling retook the lead on a pair of free throws and extended it to 67-64 on a layup by Takerra Parsons with 1:45 left on the clock. Hope Pawlowski added a free throw for Nicholls with less than a minute remaining before Grambling knocked down two at the line down the stretch to make the final.
Lilly had a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points. Tia Charles chipped in with 11 points and Pawlowski added nine points and four steals. Barrios also had four steals, but the Tigers had a 27-14 advantage on points off turnovers.
Nicholls jumped out to a fast start to lead 19-13 before the Tigers chiseled away at the deficit to make the score 33-31 at the break. But like much of the season, the Colonels let the lead slip away in the third as they were outscored 26-18.
Neither team shot well from long range, as Charles hit Nicholls’ lone 3-pointer as the team finished 1 of 14 from behind the arc. Grambling made 2 of 7 from deep, but Bre’nae Andrews’ 3-ball early in the fourth looked to be a dagger as the Tigers went up 60-51. Nicholls answered with an 11-2 run to tie the game at 62 before suffering its fourth loss at home.
Shakyla Hill led all scorers with 23 points, with Andrews and Chant Lewis adding 11 points each for the visitors. GSU shot 36.6 percent from the field and had 19 steals.
Nicholls will open 2016 at home against Lamar on Saturday (Jan. 2) to start the Southland Conference schedule. Tipoff for the women’s / men’s doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m.