Thursday was a special night for Delta State University women’s basketball head coach Craig Roden here at the Lloyd Clark Court at the Walter Sillers Coliseum.
Roden picked up his 600th career win on the collegiate level as the Lady Statesmen defeated the University of West Florida Lady Argonauts 71-67 in Gulf South Conference women’s basketball action. The win pushed Delta State’s record to 17-6 with a 10-6 mark in the GSC, while West Florida fell to 7-18 with a 3-14 mark in the GSC. The Lady Statesmen are in fifth place in the Gulf South Conference by just half a game behind Montevallo (16-7, 10-5 GSC) and Alabama-Huntsville (15-8, 10-5) who are tied for third.
Roden was happy with the win but didn’t get caught up in the fact he won his 600th game.
“That just means we’ve had good players, and we’ve been very fortunate,” Roden said. “I’ve had good health and good players. I’ve had good assistant coaches throughout the years. That’s what leads up to 600. The best thing about the 600th win was it gave us our 10th conference win. It keeps us digging in there to host one of those Super Tuesday spots, and we’ve got four ball games left. We’ve got to go and play better than what we’ve played tonight.”
DSU had to battle through the evening. West Florida scored 10 unanswered points to start the game. The 10-0 deficit put DSU in a hole the team had to try and climb out of. Delta State trailed 23-15 after the first quarter. The Lady Statesmen took a 28-25 lead with 2:01 left in the second quarter, but West Florida would end up leading 31-28 at halftime. The game went back and forth in the second half. DSU ended up outscoring West Florida 43-36 in the second half to win the game.
The Lady Statesmen had lost five of its previous eight games heading into Thursday. During the slump, DSU had some players that battled sickness.
“When that flu went through us, we lost all of our timing,” Roden said. “We’ve been fighting to get it back. We had a tough part of our schedule when that was happening., but the bottom line is at this time of the year anybody would take an ugly win over a pretty “L” any time.”
Nia Johnson scored 22 points with two rebounds, two steals and an assist to lead the Lady Statesmen, followed by Quantesha Patterson with 13 points and six rebounds, Kirstin Brown with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal and Zyaire Ewing with nine points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
DSU will be back in action Saturday when the Lady Statesmen host Valdosta State University at 2 p.m. in GSC action.
Notes: Roden is the second coach in GSC history to win 400 games in conference play, and he is the first head women’s basketball coach to win at least 100 games with three different teams.