Veronica Walker scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the fourth-ranked Delta State women's basketball team to a 56-47 victory over North Alabama Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. With the loss, UNA wraps up the 2010-11 season with a 21-7 record.
Making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 17 seasons, the Lions held DSU to its lowest point total of the season but had trouble keeping the Lady Statesmen off the boards. Delta State held a commanding 39-25 advantage in rebounding including 16 on the offensive end that led to 17 second-chance points.
Delta State led 24-21 at the break and opened the second half on a 15-2 run. A jumper by Denesha Henderson gave the Lady Statesmen their largest lead at 43-26 with 11:25 remaining. UNA, however, battled back to get within striking distance.
A layup by Niala Harris capped a 19-6 run for the Lions and made the score 49-45 at the 4:29 mark. After a defensive stop, UNA had an opportunity to continue the run. A basket by Harris, however, was waived off after the senior was called for traveling and DSU responded with seven straight points to put the game out of reach.
Harris led three UNA players in double figures with 13 points on the day. Courtnei Bowens was 4-for-7 from the floor to finish with 12 points while Sanqueeta Meardith tossed in 11 points for North Alabama. Sequoyah Cliff added 10 rebounds on the day.