HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Danayea Charles isn’t considered one of the Southern women’s basketball team’s best 3-point shooters. In fact, the walk-on point guard rarely shoots at all.
Entering Monday night’s Southwestern Athletic Conference game at Alabama A&M, Charles had attempted only 16 shots, making six, including a 2-of-4 effort from beyond the arc.
But if Southern can run the table and win a share of the SWAC title, the shot Charles made Monday will go down as one of the biggest of the season.
With A&M clinging to a one-point lead and less than three minutes remaining, Charles had the ball near the top of the key. Charles was unaware that the shot clock was winding down, so teammate Britney Washington yelled at Charles to shoot, and she hoisted the ball toward the basket.
The ball hit virtually every part of the rim before falling in to give Southern the lead for good as the Jaguars escaped with a 68-62 victory.
“I didn’t know the shot clock was low,” said Charles, who admitted she’s more of a facilitator than a shooter. “Britney told me to shoot it, and I shot it and it just happened to go in.”
“Danayea is tough as nails,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “I don’t let her shoot that much, but the kid can hit the 3. ... She’s a walk-on. This is her dream. No kid has a bigger heart on our team.”
Southern improved to 15-9 overall and 12-3 in league play. It was the Jaguars’ fifth straight win. A&M fell to 4-20 and 3-11.
The Jaguars appeared to be in control, leading 51-43 going into the fourth quarter. But A&M used a 15-6 run to take a 58-57 lead with just over three minutes remaining.
But Charles’ 3-pointer started an 8-0 run, and Southern hung on for the victory.
“Coach Pugh is happy we got the win, but she’s not happy with the way we went about it,” said Washington, who led Southern with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting. “We didn’t get off to a good start. Fortunately, I got in a rhythm, and my stroke was on the whole game. I knew I had to step up and take some tough shots. I wasn’t going to let us lose tonight. We can taste the championship. All we’ve got to do is go and grab it.”
Briana Green backed Washington with 13 points. Janie Myles led A&M with 18 points, and Taliah Moore finished with 11.
The Jaguars fell behind early, trailing by as many as seven points on three occasions, including 21-14 at the end of the first quarter. But Southern, after allowing A&M to shoot 53 percent in the first 10 minutes, tightened up its defense and got its transition game going in the second quarter.
Southern used a big second quarter, outscoring A&M 18-7 — closing the first half with a 12-3 run — to turn a five-point deficit into a 32-28 halftime advantage.