Senatobia, Miss. – Lexy Lindsey's role off the bench altered slightly on Monday night at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
The freshman guard, known more so for her excellent ball handling ability through the first couple of games this year, scored the initial eight points of her collegiate career in Northeast Mississippi Community College's 102-86 loss to the Lady Rangers inside Howard Coliseum.
"It was just a really great feeling to have the opportunity to get going and release some shots," Lindsey said. "When your name is called, you've gotta go. I just had to do my part and get the ball going and keep it under control."
The Red Bay High School graduate was perfect from the floor and at the free throw line in a career-best 11 minutes of action. In seven other appearances, Lindsey had attempted only two shots.
"We've moved (Lexy) to get some of the ball pressure off of her," said Northeast head coach Brian Alexander. "She can shoot and we're gonna look to have her do that more as the season progresses."
Northwest jumped ahead by as many as 16 points with 4:42 remaining till halftime after a pair of Halle Knowles free throws, but the Lady Tigers responded over the next two minutes.
A quick 10-0 run, sparked by a Lindsey trey and four points from Jasmine Allen, brought the Lady Tigers to within 45-39 at the 2:29 mark.
Anna Rosenbaum, though, sent the Lady Rangers to the break with momentum and a 53-41 lead after a three-point make as the horn sounded.
Northeast cut its deficit under double digits in the second half three times, the first on an old-fashioned three-point play by Teresa Mays just past the midway point of the period that made the score 71-62.
Five straight made tries at the charity stripe by Antionette Riddle and Allen got the Lady Tigers to within 79-71 with 7:02 remaining.
But Northwest again had the appropriate response with a series of baskets from Kristina Mays and Knowles to hold off Northeast and remain undefeated against Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division competition.
Kristina Mays topped all scorers with 23 points. Her Lady Ranger (7-2, 2-0) teammates Carshava Sutton (16), Knowles (14), Rosenbaum (12) and Tenesha Woods (11) all tallied double figures as well.
Lindsey was not the only Lady Tiger that caught fire off the bench. Daisha Williams led Northeast with 18 points and Allen added 17 as Northeast non-starters contributed 45 points.
"We've got some talented freshmen and we expect them to step up," Alexander said. "Defensively, we've gotta pick it up a little bit and we'll work towards that."
Northeast (3-6, 0-2) recorded season bests to this point in both shooting (41.4) and free throw (75) percentages. The Lady Tigers attempted 44 foul shots and were successful on 33, led by perfect evenings from Ayana Ragin and Allen.
Teresa Mays extended her career-high in points for the second outing in a row. She dropped in 17 while Antionette Riddle notched 10.
The Lady Tigers close the fall semester portion of their schedule on Thursday, December 12 when they visit Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
(M) Northwest 81, Northeast 63
After an up-and-down start to his inaugural collegiate campaign, El Paso Johnson-Pitts caught fire against the Rangers and scored 16 points to head Northeast's offensive efforts.
"I did the same thing I've been doing, I just knocked down shots this time," said Johnson-Pitts. "I just kept competing and when my teammates needed help I stepped up."
The freshman, who was Millington Central High School's top scorer one year ago, put up career bests in baskets made (6), field goals attempted (12) and minutes played (20).
"He was aggressive tonight and that was good to see," Tigers headman Cord Wright said. "I'm proud of him. He's hung in there, and hopefully this gives him some confidence to help this team out."
Northwest was held scoreless by the Tigers (3-8, 0-2) over the initial 3 minutes, 26 seconds of the contest. After that, though, the Rangers started clicking and compiled an 8-0 spurt to gain the advantage for good.
Back-to-back makes by Johnson-Pitts got Northeast within 15-12 halfway through the opening period, but Northwest held the Tigers to just two points over the final four minutes to take a 36-25 lead into the intermission.
The Rangers (6-4, 2-0) used a 10-2 run, capped by jumpers from Dajon Reno and Aston Morton, to break away from Northeast in the second half.
Reno and Morton, both off the bench, led Northwest with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Tristan Moore added 12 to the winning effort.
Al Azulphar had a solid night in the post for the Tigers with eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Northeast held a plus-six margin on the boards.
Dexter Stafford added six rebounds while Tyre Mallard and Johnson-Pitts each had two blocks apiece for a consistent Tiger defense.
"I thought we were active around the rim," Wright said. "Defense really hasn't been our problem. We do a good job."
Northeast is scheduled to take 28 days away from the court for the holiday break before opening up the spring semester slate on Tuesday, January 7 against No. 25 Jones County Junior College in Booneville.