Strong guard play earns first conference win

Sophomore guard Jaclyn Heath drives the lane against West Alabama Dec. 13. The Lions earned its first conference win of the season, as Heath tied a single-game school record with seven three-pointers.

A hot start helped the UNA women’s basketball team (2-7, 1-3) snap a five-game losing streak and defeat the West Alabama Tigers 80-56.

Sophomore guard Jaclyn Heath tied a single-game school record for three-pointers made, as she hit seven from behind the arc and finished with 26 points. Heath said the assists from teammates helped her score.

“I felt really confident in myself,” Heath said. “My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball where I could knock down the shots for them and for our team.”

UNA head coach Missy Tiber elected to play five guards for most of the game, giving the Lions an energy boost.

“We made a great defensive stop, then made a three on our first possession, which got us off and rolling,” Tiber said. “We talked about it as a staff and thought we could be aggressive with a smaller lineup.”

Along with Heath’s standout performance from the guard position, Freshman Elise Holden added 14 points. UNA’s four other guards, KeKe Gunter, Tionne Herron, Savannah Stults and Katelyn Kostelc, combined for 35 points.

“I was pleased to hear our girls talk to each other about not taking the foot off the gas,” Tiber said. “I told them in the locker room at halftime we played an excellent first half and to just keep pushing. “

The Lions finished with 22 assists, while forcing West Alabama (4-4, 1-3) into 21 turnovers.

With their first conference win out of the way, the Lions will host Lee University (6-3, 3-1) Dec. 17 at Flowers Hall. The game is set for tipoff at 6 p.m.