Langston took care of business in the first round of the 2012 NAIA National Tournament with a 76-64 win over Columbia (Mo.) on Thursday afternoon. The Lionesses picked up their 30th victory of the season in the process, the most in head coach Jerome Willis’ four year tenure.
Langston shot better than 43 percent from the field on the afternoon. And Willis was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We dominated the game from start to finish,” Willis said. “It was a really good game for us.”
Langston was up by 27 at one point in the game, but the Lady Cougars didn’t give up. They chipped away at the LU lead getting it down to 11 near the end of the contest, but never getting within single digits in the second half.
Willis also said that he felt his team did well on defense.
“We really stuck to the defensive plan well,” Willis said. “We did a good job recognizing shooters and chasing them off the three-point line, making them have to try to penetrate.
“We kept their best player from really dominating the game.”
In fact, the leading scorer for Columbia was Ashley Fisher with 23 points, who came off the Lady Cougar bench.
Langston was forced to make some adjustments as well. Starting center, Kimberly Jones, who leads the team in rebounds and is second in scoring, twisted her ankle very early in the game and saw limited action.
Sophomore Amber Coleman stepped up and had an immediate impact.
“When Kim went out, Amber went right in there and scored six quick points for us,” Willis said. “So I wasn’t in a big rush to get Kim back in there.
“But once we got her re-taped, she did a pretty good job. She was limited because they backed it in on her and tried to take her out of it. They really tried to take away our post game.”
Jones also dealt with foul trouble. She finished with five points.
But Shontice Simmons took up any slack. Simmons had a game high 25 points and went 5 for 11 behind the 3-point line.
“(Simmons) hadn’t been shooting very well as of late,” Willis said. “But she picked the right time to break out of that. She and Ayanna Jackson shot the ball well.”
Nine Langston players scored and had at least four.
Langston next takes on Biola (Calif.), the No. 7 seed from this bracket. Biola upset Lee, the No. 7 team in NAIA.
Scheduled tip time is 8 p.m. on Friday.