(PHOTO/ Troy Athletics)
Senior Japonica James goes in for a layup in the season opener against Fort Valley State. James posted 18 points and seven boards in Tuesday’s 74-65 win over Samford.
The Troy women’s basketball team completed a comeback to down Samford, 74-65, on Tuesday inside the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham.
Buckets by Japonica James and Jasmine Leblanc gave the Trojans an early 5-0 lead to start off the matchup, but by the five-minute mark of the first quarter, the Bulldogs had tied the game at eight points.
Samford took the lead with a 14-5 run through the remaining five minutes of the first quarter and did not look back in the second quarter, heading into halftime with a 31-29 advantage.
The teams continued battling toe-to-toe in the third quarter with neither team able to boast a lead larger than five points.
Midway through the fourth, it began to look as though Samford was pulling away as they took a six-point lead, their largest of the game.
With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, James scored four-straight points for Troy followed by two more from Jasmine Robinson to tie the game at 61.
A jumper by James and a triple from Tiyah Johnson gave the Trojans a five-point advantage with two minutes left to play forcing Samford to begin drawing fouls.
With the lead in hand, Troy closed the door at the line, making eight consecutive free throws to close out the game and earning a 74-65 victory.
“We started denying the ball at full court where we had been playing behind them,” head coach Chanda Rigby said. “Kayla Robinson came in, and she’s a senior and a veteran, so she knows how to win basketball games.
“She just put her head down and kept drawing fouls and getting to the line.”
Kayla Robinson led the Trojans in scoring Tuesday night with 21-points on 5-of-14 shooting. She set a new career-high in made free throws with nine. Robinson also added six rebounds and two steals.
The Trojans return to Trojan Arena on Saturday where they play host to Jacksonville State (2-1). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.