Alyssa Washington had 18 points and 10 rebounds and made a key defensive play down the stretch as Dillard turned back No. 12-ranked Talladega 75-69 in a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's game Saturday at A.W. Dent Hall.
It was the first victory over a ranked team this season for the Bleu Devils (11-6, 2-0), the defending GCAC regular-season and tournament champions.
Dillard led 66-63 when Washington, MVP of last season's conference tournament, stole the ball and made a layup off a pass from point guard Adriiana Jackson on the fast break with 2:11 left. Washington grabbed a defensive rebound that led to a drive by forward Paige Williams, which increased the lead to 71-63 with 1:09 left.
“We were really focused on defense at the end, and I was able to get a steal,” she said. “I was not even going for offensive rebounds then. I just wanted to make sure we got that defensive rebound.
“It feels amazing to beat the No. 12 team. We were ranked earlier, but we were kicked out of the rankings. We want everybody to know that Dillard basketball is still here.”
Guard Jabria Pounds scored 16 points and Jaiylan Brown and Williams each had 10. Foward Diamond Jolly led Talladega with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Talladega (16-3, 2-1) outrebounded the Bleu Devils 54-37, grabbing 22 offensive rebounds as the Tornadoes scored heavily in the lane. However, Dillard forced 37 turnovers.
“The difference in the game was composure,” Talladega coach Kevin Herod said. “Dillard played well in the half court like a defending champion. We didn't play with a lot of composure.”
The Tornadoes play at Southern-New Orleans on Monday.
The score was tied at 60 with 3:46 left when Washington sank a baseline pull-up jumper. The Devils clung to a 64-63 lead when Williams drove left for a basket. Washington followed with her steal and fast-break layup.
After trailing 28-27 at halftime, the Devils led 48-47 at the end of the third quarter.
Dillard 71, Talladega 65: Center Rick Curry scored 15 points, leading five Bleu Devils in double figures.
Dillard (9-5, 2-0) won its second consecutive game after a four-game losing streak. The loss was the first in conference play for Talladega (14-4, 2-1).
“We got scoring from a lot of guys, but it was an ugly game,” Dillard coach Mike Newell said. “(Talladega) just played uglier than we did.”