Delta State Athletics

CLEVELAND, Miss. -- Sarita “Bug” Cooper tied her career-high with 27 points to lead the top-ranked Delta State University Lady Statesmen (11-0) to a 67-60 come-from-behind victory against the No. 22-ranked West Texas A&M University Lady Buffaloes (6-5) Friday afternoon at Walter Sillers Coliseum. The victory extended DSU’s home court win streak to 54 games, just four shy of tying the school record.

“We were able to overcome some serious obstacles today and I’m very proud of the way our ladies responded in the second half,” Lady Statesmen head coach Sandra Rushing said. “They gave Bug a lot of opportunities early and she really made them pay.”

The Lady Statesmen struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, trailing by as many as 10 twice, ending the half down six, 34-28.

West Texas A&M shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22) in the first half, while holding Delta State to 41.4 percent (12 of 29). Jamie Simmons led all scorers with 12 at the break for the Lady Buffs, while Cooper paced the Lady Statesmen with 11.

The green-and-white turned up the heat defensively in the second half, forcing 11 Lady Buffs turnovers and holding WTAMU to 42.3 percent (11 of 26) from the floor.

Offensively, the Lady Statesmen erupted for a 9-2 run to take the lead for the first time with 17:25 to play, 37-36, on a pair of Shameka Russell free throws. DSU would make it stand up from there, leading by as many as 12 with 3:27 to play.

DSU closed out the game shooting 45.6 percent from the floor on 26 of 57 shooting, while WTAMU shot 47.9 percent on 23 of 48 attempts. The Lady Statesmen out-rebounded the Lady Buffs 40-26 and outscored WTAMU 42-20 in the paint.

Cooper finished the game shooting 12 of 23 from the floor for the Lady Statesmen, while tying her career-high with 27 points. She also grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. Veronica Walker added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Moe Bell added 10 points.

Collins closed the game with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Lady Buffs. Ariel Robertson added 16 off the bench with Megan McLain dropping in 10.