CLEVELAND, Miss. — Florida Southern held off a Delta State rally and did what no other team had done since 2007 – beat No. 5 Delta State on its home court. The Moccasins’ 61-60 victory Sunday in the Delta State Classic at Cleveland, Miss., snapped a 64-game home winning streak by the Lady Statesmen.
After Delta State’s Denesha Henderson missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds left, the Moccasins grabbed the rebound and were able to run out the clock to avenge last season’s loss to Delta State in the NCAA regional at Russellville, Ark.
Delta State scored the game’s first basket, but Morgan Lamberg hit a jumper to tie it and Michaela Hawley sank a pair of free throws to give the Moccasins a lead they maintained for the rest of the game.
The Moccasins (2-0) were up 41-27 at halftime, but had to hold off a strong second-half rally by Delta State. Still leading by 10, 57-47, with 8:21 remaining, the Moccasins suffered a scoreless drought of almost five minutes and saw their lead dwindle to 57-52. Megan Dzikas followed a steal by Lamberg with a basket to get the lead back to 59-52 with 3:25 to go, but Delta State had one more charge. Four points by Brooke Rhodes and a basket by Brittany Roberts trimmed the margin to 61-60 with 49 seconds left. The Moccasins missed a shot with 28 seconds left, but Delta State turned the ball over with 10 seconds to go. Dzikas was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw to give the Lady Statesmen one last shot, but Henderson’s three-point attempt was off the mark.
Hawley turned in her second consecutive solid performance with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. For the two games in the Classic, Hawley averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals and was FSC’s representative on the All-Classic Team. Lamberg delivered a career-high 14 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds. Taylor Maldonado tossed in 10 points, including three three-pointers.
Delta State’s Veronica Walker, the Division II Bulletin preseason player of the year, had 23 points and eight rebounds to lead Delta State (1-1).