HANCEVILLE, ALA. – A day after cracking the national poll for the first time this season, Wallace State's 24th-ranked women's basketball team breezed past Columbia (Tenn.) State on Thursday afternoon, prevailing 64-33 at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Kaneisha Mixon scored a team-high 15 points off the bench and fellow sophomore Haven Albright scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half as the Lady Lions (9-1) won their fifth in a row.
"We came out a little flat to begin the game. Anytime you look on the other end of the court and there's only six or seven dressed out, you think it's going to be an easy day. We kind of sleepwalked through the first half, but picked up the intensity in the second half. We forced some turnovers and stretched our lead out," said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette. "Some of our subs slid in during the second half and gave us a lift. Right now we are deep. It's probably the deepest we've been since I've been head coach."
Tyra Caudle scored 12 points off the bench, Morgan Smith had six points and BreAnna Thompson added five for Wallace State, which made its initial appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I poll on Wednesday.
Wallace State started the game on a 12-3 spurt. Smith hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and Albright and Thompson converted easy transition buckets during the opening run.
Wallace State extended its lead to 19-12 with 9:44 remaining in the first half. The Lady Lions then pulled away, closing the half on a 15-7 run, receiving 3's from Brennan Crabtree and Albright and a pair of baskets from Mixon during the surge.
The Lady Lions led 34-19 at the break.
Wallace State poured it on in the opening minutes of the second half, leading 47-23 with 15:09 to go.
After consecutive baskets by Caudle and a Mixon layup, the Lady Lions stretched their lead out to 57-27 with 6:07 remaining.
Columbia State struggled to keep the deficit within 30 points the rest of the way.
Marissa Lyttle led Columbia State in the loss with 12 points.
Wallace State is back in action Friday at Saturday at home. The Lady Lions host Sinclair (Ohio) Community College at 5 p.m. on Friday and Moberly Area (Mo.) Community College at 5 p.m. on Saturday, playing each opponent for the first time ever.
"We've got two interesting teams coming in over the next couple of days. We've never played them so it will be nice to see new faces and new styles of basketball. We are looking forward to the challenge," Burdette said.
Shelton State's women team will also be in town and precede Wallace State each day with a game of their own at 3 p.m. at Tom Drake Coliseum.