PENSACOLA, Fla. — North Alabama practically ran West Florida out of its own gym Thursday evening.
Pushing the ball at every opportunity, the Lions took advantage of 26 turnovers by West Florida in routing the Argonauts 78-52.
It was the fourth win in five Gulf South Conference road games for UNA (14-6, 7-3 GSC).
“We’ve had four really good practices in the past four days and it carried over,” coach Terry Fowler said. “Wednesday’s practice was unbelievable and we had a great shoot-around this morning. That was about as well as we can play.”
Nichelle Fillmore scored 22 points to lead the Lions. Fillmore had 15 points in the first half as UNA built a 43-19 halftime advantage over the Argonauts (5-13, 2-8). West Florida had 19 turnovers in the first half.
“We came out with a lot of energy today,” said senior guard Sarah Bailey, who finished with seven points. “The last time we played them we got way behind early and had to fight back. This time we can out with great energy and never let up.”
UNA took control early and never trailed. Fillmore scored six quick points to get the Lions going and then had four points in a 10-0 spurt that put UNA up 18-4.
The Lions continued to pull away the rest of the half. Delisa Madry hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 6-0 run that made it 33-13. Mekena Randle later scored six points in an 8-0 spurt and UNA took a commanding 43-19 lead into halftime.
The Lions hit 19 of 29 shots in the half and scored 32 of their 43 points in the paint.
“We looked at some film from earlier in the season and realized we were not pushing the ball like we had been,” Fowler said. “We wanted to get back to that today and it paid off.”
UNA was able to maintain the big lead throughout the second half. A 3-pointer by Jennifer Towne and four straight points by Bailey pushed the margin to 54-25. Fillmore later converted a three-point play in a 7-0 run that made it 65-34 with 10:01 remaining.
Kaseama Ashbourne gave the Lions their largest lead when she made a layup with 6:39 left to make it 73-40.
The win put UNA alone in second place in the GSC standings. The Lions trail Union by one game and are a half game ahead of idle Delta State.
“Everybody on the team is focused and we’re all on the same page,” Bailey said. “Everybody knows their role and is performing that role well.”
Randle added 14 points and Ashbourne had 12 for UNA. Toynette Johnson paced West Florida with 11 points.
UNA will complete its two-game road trip Saturday at Valdosta State.
“Winning this one really takes a lot of pressure heading over to Valdosta,” Fowler said. “Now we’ve got to come out with this same type of energy Saturday night.”
Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 256-740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@TimesDaily.com.