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Henderson State takes shocker over UWA

By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
March 6, 2004
TUPELO A tornado tore through north Mississippi on Friday, but it was Henderson State that blew through West Alabama.
The Lady Tigers trailed by double digits for much of the game but came within two points before being fended off for a 81-72 upset by the Lady Reddies in the Gulf South Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The win by the Lady Reddies, the GSC West Division's fourth seed, marked the first victory of the tournament by a lower seed. West Alabama, 21-7 overall and 12-3 in GSC games, was the top seed out of the East Division.
Halftime lasted about 20 minutes longer than planned when a tornado warning was announced and forced fans into the bowels of the BancorpSouth Center.
Henderson State, which led 45-39 at halftime, scored the second half's first eight points to build a 14-point advantage, but it was almost not enough. The Lady Tigers defense, which couldn't keep up with the Lady Reddies' speed throughout the game, held Henderson State scoreless for nearly five minutes and cut the lead in half.
Porter's trey with 7:03 left trimmed Henderson State's lead to 69-63. After a layup and jumper by Veronica Lee, who led the Lady Tigers with 18 points, West Alabama trailed by just two.
But after a stop on defense, the Lady Tigers missed three shots that would have tied the score.
West Alabama never got another chance.
Henderson State went up by six on a basket by LeVesha Holland with three minutes left, but a leaning jumper in the lane by Nikki Jones made the score 73-69 with 1:27 to play.
But it was West Alabama's last basket of the game. Lee missed out on a chance to bring the Lady Tigers within two when she threw the ball out of bounds while spinning on a fast break with 1:07 left.
Henderson State built a 30-18 lead midway through the first half, and the closest West Alabama came before the end of the half was 32-27. The Lady Tigers trailed by 11 with a minute to play, but came within six at halftime after three-pointers by Lee and Jones, who had 13 points.