By Maurice Patton
Diamond Cannon made sure her Sophomore Night festivities were festive, scoring 17 points Wednesday to help Columbia State past Southwest Tennessee 66-61.
Mya Byrd scored a game-high 18 points and Nya Caruthers added 11 for the Lady Chargers as they won their final regular-season contest at the Webster Athletic Center.
“It was my last game. I wanted to leave it all on the court, give all my effort,” Cannon said. “We’ve been through a lot. It was important to get this win to get ready for the (TCCAA) tournament, but also to start getting some Ws on our record. We’ve got to dig deep and leave it all out there.”
Cannon scored seven of her points in the opening period as C-State built a 20-10 lead. From there, the Saluqis managed to cut the margin to 46-44 at the end of the third quarter and 59-58 with just under three minutes to play.
Byrd connected on one of her three 3-pointers, then converted a layup in transition to make it a six-point game, and she and Cannon each went 1-for-2 from the foul line in the final 1:40 – just enough to hold off the Memphis contingent.
“We have so much potential as a team,” Cannon said. “I can’t wait to see what ‘Coach Gwen’ (Burton) has in store for this team for next year.”
In the second year of the Lady Chargers’ reboot after a one-year hiatus, the team has been significantly more competitive.
“We only had five players on the floor for a lot of last year,” Cannon said. “We had so many players ineligible. Coach Gwen brings girls in to be student-athletes. … The ‘student’ is so important.
“When we play together and work hard, we win games. When we use the tools she gives us, we win games.”
Kenya Freeman scored 16 points to lead Southwest Tennessee offensively, with Trinity Taylor scoring 13.
The Lady Chargers finish the regular season with games Saturday at Volunteer State and March 31 at Dyersburg State.
Columbia State women 66, Southwest Tennessee 61
ST 10 16 18 17 — 61
CS 20 9 17 20 – 66
Southwest Tennessee (61) – Daisha Seltzer 8, Keyanna Logan 7, Trinity Taylor 13, Tayliyah Brown 2, Caitlyn Knoxx 2, Cortasia Hollins 9, Kenya Freeman 16, Ariyani Robinson 4
Columbia State (66) – Mya Byrd 18, Nya Caruthers 11, Diamond Cannon 17, Brittany Lawless-Sherrill 2, Brianna Brown 9, Denaj’za Jackson 5, Jaletha Clark 4
3-pointers – Southwest Tennessee 4 (Seltzer, Taylor 3), Columbia State 7 (Byrd 3, Caruthers 3, Cannon)