“It is always good to win the first conference game,” Talladega College head coach Romeo Lagmay said. “There are eight teams that played tonight where four win and four lose. We are in the upper half right now and we will take that win. I am glad we won, because like I said these girls practiced really hard and this is the pay off. You work hard to get paid and this is the payday. They came out very confident and we made some good plays in the first half. We ended up pressing them, which helped us out a little bit. Then, I think we got comfortable in the second half and we started losing our defensive assignments. The substitutions that could have been me, because you are trying to get a feel for who want to rely on. I really want to rely on everyone, but at the same time I want to rotate everyone, but I can’t because we have a task at hand. We had some missed defensive assignments and we had guard control, which was unfortunate, but we held our composure.”
The Lady Tornadoes got a spark off the bench from newcomer Breonna Bellamy in the first half. She sparked a 15-0 run to give the Lady Tornadoes a 25-14 lead. Arielle George nailed a pair of 3-pointers to give TC a 21-15 lead. Brianna Thomas scored six points during the run. Her layup off the assist of Megan Illoff gave the Lady Tornadoes a 24-15 lead with 5:48 left in the first half.
Jazzmin Smith put an end to the run with a layup to cut the TC lead down to 24-17. Smith also converted on a layup to cut the Lady Tornadoes advantage down to 26-24 with 2:35 left in the first half.
Bellamy capped off a 8-0 run to end the half. The Dixie State College transfer hit a midrange jumper and left-hand floater to increase TC’s lead to 34-24 going into intermission.
“I talked to her in our pre-game meal and I asked her if she was nervous,” Lagmay said. “She said no. She understands she has to go. Coming in at the midway point in the season, she has to be an immediate impact and she did well. The only thing she needs to adjust to is our playbook, but other than that she knows how to play basketball.”
The momentum the Lady Tornadoes gained at the end of the first half carried over into the second half. TC went on a 15-5 run. Arielle George knocked down a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 42-30. Thomas scored five points during the run, including a 3-point play to give TC a 51-34 lead. Thomesha Smith scored four of her seven points during the run. Her layup gave TC a 55-35 lead with 8:59 left in the game. Dillard went on a 9-2 run to cut TC’s lead down to 57-44 with 5:26 lead in the game. George drained her fourth 3 –pointer of the game to push the lead back to 60-44.
The Lady Tornadoes struggled down the stretch handling the pressure defense that the Lady Blue Devils applied late in the game. Smith connected on a 4-point play to cut the lead down to 68-57 with 33.4 seconds left in the game.
Bellamy drained a pair of free throws, which sealed the victory for TC. Thomas led the way for TC with 19 points and seven rebounds.
“She came up big for us tonight,” Lagmay said. “She is an All-Conference player and that is expected out of her. She has to show up big. Megan Iloff has to show up big. That is what is expected out of them. Anything below their averages is not a fortunate situation for us. She did show up and I am proud of her. That was good for her and that boosted her confidence.”
George scored 14 points, while Bellamy scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in TC debut.
TC host conference foe Xavier on Monday at 5:30 p.m.