SAVANNAH, Ga. – Ivy Smith had one block for Savannah State on Monday night, but it was a crucial one for the Lady Tigers needed. With CSU trailing by two and seven second on the clock, junior guard Cindee Wright’s three-point try was rejected by Smith, preserving the 65-63 victory for Savannah State. Pam Tolbert led all scorers, tallying 26 points for the Lady Buccaneers in the loss.
Tolbert also finished with a game-high 10 rebounds, posting the third double-double of her career and first this season. She went eight-for-14 from the field, hitting three of her five attempts from behind the arc, and added seven free throws to push her scoring average to 20.3 this season.
Playing 36 minutes, second only to Tolbert’s 39, sophomore forward Tina DeCarvalho had a solid all-around performance for the Lady Bucs. With eight points and nine rebounds, she finished just shy of her second double-double of the season. Wright had nine points and also led CSU (2-4) with four steals.
Senior Natalie Caldwell and freshman Katie Tull each had seven points, combining to go four-of-14 from the field. Freshman Crystal Robinson contributed four points, also hauling in six rebounds, and senior Shaunte Small connected for two points to round out the Lady Bucs’ offense.
Ivy Smith led Savannah State (4-1) with 23 points, going just four-of-11 from the floor, but hitting 13-of-18 free throws. She also had a team-high six rebounds. Milan Johnson added 12 points as the only other Lady Tiger to reach double figures.
CSU came out of the gate strong, scoring the first seven points of the game, going up 7-0 on a layup by Tolbert at the 17:51 mark. Savannah State didn’t get on the scoreboard until the clock struck 16:58, when a layup by LaShara Smith made it 7-2. The Lady Bucs continued to build their lead, however, moving ahead by 16 when a pair of free throws by Robinson made it 23-7 with 9:59 to play in the first half.
But the Lady Tigers weathered the storm and began to slowly chip away at the deficit over the remainder of the first half, using a 17-4 run to pull within three as the teams went into the halftime break.
Ivy Smith hit a three pointer on the first possession of the second half, tying the game and turning it into a back-and-forth contest. Neither team could build a lead larger than four points as they were deadlocked in ties on six separate occasions. The last knotted score came at the 2:32 mark when a free throw by Tolbert made it 59-59.
Four straight points by Savannah State gave the home team a 63-59 lead with 2:10 to play. On the Lady Bucs ensuing possession, a layup by Wright brought CSU within two as the clock hit the 1:46 mark. With 22 seconds remaining in regulation, LaShara Smith hit a pair of free throws to give the home team a four-point cushion, one it would need as a layup by Wright brought the Lady Bucs within two points with 13 second on the clock. A final attempt by Wright, a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining, was blocked by Ivy Smith to seal a victory for the Lady Tigers.
CSU continues its road trip with a 7 p.m. tipoff against the College of Charleston on Thursday.