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(New Orleans) The Dillard Lady Bleu Devils continued their magnificent run of excellent basketball play, coming from behind in dramatic fashion to defeat the Talladega Lady Tornadoes 72-70 on the Battlefield in Dent Hall on Monday Night.
With the victory and Xavier's loss, the Lady Bleu Devils (6-0, 9-6) now have sole possession of first place in the GCAC Conference standings, a first this late in the season since the 2004-05 season prior to Hurricane Katrina. The Lady Bleu Devils are the only remaining undefeated team in conference play and have won 6 games in a row and 7 of their last 8 games overall.
The Lady Bleu Devils fought hard to come from behind to secure the victory against the Lady Tornadoes. Talladega's (3-2, 11-6) Ebony Richardson hit two early three-pointers to start the game for the Lady Tornadoes, propelling them to an early 10-3 lead. The Lady Bleu Devils were plagued by turnovers until three straight baskets by Ariel Mitchell brought Dillard to within two at 15-13. The Lady Tornadoes did not flinch, stopping the Lady Bleu Devils while scoring in transition to go back up by nine at 26-17 with 7:37 left in the half, their largest lead of the game up until that point. The Lady Bleu Devils made a push late in the first half, cutting Talladega's lead to five at 37-32 at intermission.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the second half, but Talladega had the advantage because of their ability to capitalize off the Lady Bleu Devils' turnovers. The Lady Tornadoes lead by ten at 42-32 before the Lady Bleu Devils went on a 15-6 run to trail by only one with just under twelve minutes remaining in the game. The Lady Bleu Devils snatched their first lead of the game at 52-50 on a three-pointer by Brittney Smith. The Lady Bleu Devils would relinquish their lead shortly thereafter, as Talladega responded with a 7-0 run to go back up by five points at 57-52 with 9:50 left in the game. Talladega would maintain a seven point advantage until an 11-4 run by Dillard using in-your-face ball pressure defense and timely shooting to tie the game at 70-70 with 59 seconds remaining. Lady Bleu Devil Ariel Mitchell would get fouled and sink both free-throws to give the Lady Bleu Devils their final and most important lead of the night. Talladega would miss a last second shot and the Bleu Devils would go on to celebrate yet another come from behind victory.
GCAC Conference Player of the Week, Ariel Mitchell, led all scorers with 26 points and 5 rebounds. Lauren Daniel had an excellent all-around performance with 13 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds for the Lady Bleu Devils. Brittney Smith contributed 12 points and 3 assists.
The Lady Bleu Devils will now focus their attention to the first of two match-ups against crosstown rival Xavier University. The Lady Bleu Devils will battle the Gold Nuggets on Saturday, January 28th at 5:00 p.m. in the Barn on the campus of Xavier University.