One game removed from perhaps their worst performance of the season, the Mississippi University for Women women’s basketball team did a lot of things right.
The Owls held Toccoa Falls College to 30.9 percent shooting, outrebounded the Screaming Eagles 37-28 and made a remarkable 25 of 28 free throws to post a 65-61 victory on Saturday at Pohl Gym.
Senior guard Rokila Wallace scored a team-high 20 points as The W snapped a seven-game losing streak while handing TFC (6-14) its fourth consecutive loss.
Wallace and freshman guard Hannah Duran each played all 40 minutes for the Owls. Wallace shot 8 for 8 from the line and grabbed 5 rebounds, while Duran finished with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Junior forward MG Chamberlain tallied 19 points and 6 rebounds, and freshman Maddie Guerin contributed 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Two days after managing just 28 points in a harrowing 44-point loss to Blue Mountain, the Owls came out strong, taking a 19-11 lead after the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 12, The W’s largest of the game, after a Chamberlain jumper and two Wallace free throws.
But the Screaming Eagles played a strong second quarter, forcing 6 turnovers and pulling to within two by halftime. The second half was a dogfight throughout, but the Owls hit all 12 of their fourth-quarter free throws to hang on.
The W led by as many as 6 points just once during the fourth quarter, but they maintained a lead for the final 9 minutes, 18 seconds to improve to 2-14.
The Screaming Eagles wasted a superlative effort from 5-foot-3 sophomore guard Jaliyah Howard, who erupted for 34 points before fouling out with 12 seconds left. Howard shot 6 of 13 from 3-point range — Toccoa Falls outscored The W 21-0 from downtown — and added 3 assists and 4 steals.
The Owls again were plagued by turnovers but did a far better job of containing the damage this time. The Owls committed 24 turnovers to 18 for the Screaming Eagles, but each team scored 16 points off of turnovers.
The Owls have three games remaining this season: a Thursday trip to Jackson to take on Belhaven and home games Saturday against Arkansas Baptist and Feb. 17 against Pensacola Christian.