ASU women's basketball coach Robert Skinner and the Lady Rams may not have won a game this year, but have been close in almost every one.
ORANGEBURG, S.C. —Albany State womens’ basketball coach Robert Skinner had to go to his bench to pull off the comeback, but he’ll take a win any way he can get one.
And he loved the way his team won Thursday.
“We finally won a game,’’ said Skinner, whose Lady Rams beat Claflin, 65-58, Thursday night after starting the season 0-6. “Oh man, the first win of the year.
It feels great. ‘‘And it feels even better because we had a real team effort.’’
ASU got 35 points off the bench in the ultimate come-to-the-rescue game for the Lady Rams, who led 36-28 at halftime, but watched Calflin come back to take a six-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
That’s when everything changed.
“We were down by six, and we changed the whole lineup,’’ Skinner said. “We started playing defense and got more rebounds.’’
And they also grabbed the lead.
“After that, we got up by 10 and held on,’’ said Skinner, who put three freshmen guards on the floor for the final 10 minutes of the game. “Those three freshmen guards were the difference in the game.’’
Mecca Frost, Dalencia Tift and Brashia Shepard all came off the bench to turn the game around for ASU. At the end of the game, ASU had four freshmen guards on the floor.
They combined for 18 points over the final 10 minutes as Nikki Wilson, who joined the other three freshmen guards, led the way with eight points.
Frost scored five, Shepard chipped in with three, and Tift had two.
“It wasn’t what they scored that made the difference,’’ Skinner said. “They stopped Claflin from scoring.’’
Freshman April Thomas led ASU with 15 points.
Skinner said he doesn’t plan to start the three freshmen who came off the bench when the Lady Rams face Niles at 1 p.m. Saturday in Birmingham, but added that he will play it by ear.
“We’ll just take it one game at a time and see what happens,’’ Skinner said. “Hopefully, we won’t have to do this again. I hope we can maintain (with the starters), but if I have to do it again, I’ll do it again.’’
CLAFLIN MEN 61, ALBANY STATE 47Albany State’s Rams saw their two-game winning streak snapped Thursday as they fell to Claflin (3-6), which didn’t have a player score in double figures.
ASU was led by Jaren Harris, who scored 13 points. Andrew Covin and Stephen Francis scored eight points each for the Rams, who shot 40.5 percent from the field and went just 10 of 18 from the free throw line. Albany State is now 2-3 for the season.