HUNSTVILLE — Turnovers put a damper on the North Alabama women’s season opener Saturday as Tuskegee defeated the Lions 72-56 in the GSC/SIAC Challenge.
UNA committed 25 turnovers to just 13 for Tuskegee. The turnovers allowed the Golden Tigers to take control in the second half en route to the victory.
“Turnovers were the difference,” coach Terry Fowler said. “We also shot terrible in the second half. But turnovers were a problem for us in our exhibition games and again today; We’ve got to get better there.”
UNA got off to a good start and opened up a 32-28 lead at halftime despite battling foul trouble. Starters Nichelle Fillmore and Sarah Bailey each missed much of the first half after picking up two fouls.
“I felt good at halftime because we had the lead with some of our starters on the bench most of the half,” Fowler said. “But then we turn it over two times in a row and give them easy layups both times. Once they got the lead we never got back over the hump.”
Junior Mekena Randle led the Lions with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Bailey added 14 points for UNA, which shot 39.6 percent from the field.
“This team just has very little experience,” Fowler said. “It’s going to take us some time, but the good thing is this group continues to want to get better.”
UNA will face Benedict today at 2 p.m., at Spragins Hall on the Alabama-Huntsville campus.
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The North Alabama men completed their exhibition schedule with a 75-65 loss to Long Beach State.
UNA trailed 44-31 at halftime before pulling to within four early in the second half before Long Beach State pulled away for the win.
“We played really well in the first five minutes of each half,” coach Bobby Champagne said. “We did a good job forcing turnovers, but we also turned it over too much. We also missed some wide open shots, which is uncharacteristic of us.”
Rashaun Claiborne led the Lions with 17 points. Wes Long added 13 points and Bruce Adams had 10 points.
“Playing here was a good experience for our guys,” Champagne said. “I feel like we improved this week and now we’ve got to get ready for the regular season.
UNA opens its season at home Monday against Fisk. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.