Albany State sophomore and Cordele native Keidra Green hits a runner to pull the Lady Rams to within one point with 21 seconds left in Wednesday’s loss to Columbus State. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Albany State women’s basketball coach Robert Skinner drew up the play that was supposed to win the game.
Instead, the Lady Rams’ final play in Wednesday’s 56-54 loss to Columbus State ended the same way as most of their possessions in the previous 40 minutes — with a missed shot.
Mecca Frost’s last-second 3-pointer clanked off the rim in a scene that played over and over again for the Lady Rams, who shot 37 percent from the field and failed to find any rhythm on offense all night.
“It was horrible,” Skinner said about his team’s shooting. “What can you say? Most of it is because of the attitudes we are taking in practice. … They are just going through the motions at practice with the shooting, and until they start working harder at practice shooting the basketball, we will keep shooting low percentages.”
The final play of the game was supposed to end with a shot from either sharp-shooting senior Kourtney Alexander or sophomore Keidra Green, and Alexander received the in-bounds pass at the top of the key. But instead, Alexander bobbled the ball and passed it to Frost, who had to throw up a desperation 3-pointer that hit the back of the iron.
“It didn’t go how it was supposed to,” admitted Alexander, who led the Lady Rams with 16 points and 10 rebounds. “I tried to cross over, but it didn’t work. And then I had to pass it to my point guard with just three seconds left.”
The shooting was ugly for both teams in the first half as they combined to shoot 22 percent from the field and went into the locker room tied, 19-19.
The lead bounced back and forth in the second half until the Lady Rams went on a 10-2 run to take a 43-37 lead with 7:47 remaining. Columbus State, however, closed the gap and eventually took the lead with 57 seconds left when Tae Smith converted a 3-point play to put the Lady Cougars on top, 55-52. Green, a Cordele native who finished with 11 points, pulled ASU to within one with a runner in the lane with 21 seconds left.
After a free throw from Columbus State’s Asha Alexander with 9.1 seconds left, the Lady Rams had a final chance but instead saw their fourth straight victory rim out as the buzzer sounded.
“We just have to play to the buzzer and not get into too much of rush and make sure we run our offense,” Alexander said.
The Lady Rams (4-2) had been off for 10 consecutive days and had last played Dec. 1 in Americus, where they won their third straight game in a 71-69 overtime victory against Columbus State (5-1).
The winning streak ended Wednesday night, but the Lady Rams have a chance to end the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a win Monday against Saint Thomas University.