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Lady Commodores cruise to 5-0

PANAMA CITY — Going into the season, Gulf Coast coach Roonie Scovel was skeptical that her team could navigate its early schedule unscathed without the services of 6-foot-2 Georgia Tech transfer D’Asia Gregg, who won’t become eligible until the spring semester.

And yet, following an easy 74-40 home victory over Lurleen B. Wallace on Tuesday night, that’s just where the top-ranked Lady Commodores (5-0) find themselves.

“To be 5-0 without D’Asia Gregg, because she’s honestly one of our best players on the team, a top two or three player, that we’re playing without,” she said. “To win those games against Florida Southwestern without her ... because I was fully expecting to take a hit or two. To be 5-0 through five games and still five games to go without her, I’m pretty proud of that.”

While the two wins over Florida Southwestern State required rallies from double digit deficits, there wasn’t much drama involved in Tuesday’s victory.

Ahlana Smith led the Lady Commodores in scoring - as she has done in every game this season - with 26 points on 8 of 19 shooting and 5 of 13 from the 3-point line.

Tatiana Jones added 14 points and 18 rebounds, while Naomi Mbandi had 18 points on 6 of 16 from the field.

Kiarra Westbrooks and Tykema Nesbit led LB Wallace (0-4) with 10 points apiece.

The Lady Commodores took control early by answering a quick bucket by Westbrooks with a 14-0 run featuring six points from Smith and capped by a transition 3-pointer from Mbandu.


Five straight points from Ra’Shara Simmons and an offensive rebound and putback by Jones gave Gulf Coast a 21-8 edge after one quarter.

Smith opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, and Mbandu and Savannah Slade followed with long balls of their own to extend the lead to 33-8 with 5:03 until halftime.


LB Wallace closed the half with a 12-5 push capped by a deep 3-pointer from Naomi Ross in the waning seconds of the second quarter.

Smith started taking over late in third, making a free throw and back-to-back threes to put Gulf Coast up 53-30.


After a short jumper to start the fourth by Slade, Smith added two more triples and Ndeye Ciss scored a transition layup to make it 63-35 with 7:45 remaining.

“It was a good win and everybody got to play. That was kind of the goal tonight,” Scovel said. “In that case it was a good win. Other than that, it was a little lackluster. The motor wasn’t very good from top to bottom from the coaching staff to the players. We didn’t come out with a lot of high energy, but a win is a win.”

The Lady Commodores will now get an extended break and will return to action Nov. 29-30 with games against Walters State and Georgia Highlands in Rome, Ga.

Gulf Coast will next be home Dec. 6-7 for the JUCO Shootout with games against Palm Beach and Daytona State.


 

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