PERKINSTON — Azaria Howard had 27 points to lead Mississippi Gulf Coast to a 65-43 win in the Lady Bulldogs' season opener Friday against Coastal Alabama.
"She was the stud tonight," Gulf Coast coach Hope Adams said. "We get on her a lot about being aggressive. Twenty-seven points, wow. I think now the biggest thing is that we tell her all the time that nobody can stop her but her. Now, she knows she can dominate the paint."
The Lady Bulldogs ramped up the defense in the second half and used a 15-3 run to close the third quarter to expand their lead to 18. Howard (So., Richland/Richland) had seven of those points on a pair of put-backs and three free throws.
"We picked it up defensively in the second half," Adams said. "We came down at halftime and talked about being poised and filling the gaps on defense, playing like we practice all year."
Howard had two buckets in an 11-2 run that closed the first half to give the Lady Bulldogs a 29-17 advantage. Aleah Sutton (Fr., Jackson/Madison Central) hit a 3-pointer from the right win in the final five seconds to punctuate the outburst.
Gulf Coast returns to action Monday at Bishop State in Mobile. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs will play two more games next week, both against MACJC North opponents in Senatobia. They play Mississippi Delta on Thursday and host Northwest the next day.
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