They are learning to win close games.
After some tough losses the first two months of the season, the Lady Wave are proving they can hold their own when the game is on the line, as evidenced by Friday's 53-48 victory over the Nettleton Lady Tigers, avenging an early season loss.
"No doubt this was a good win," Tupelo coach Stephanie Murphy said. "And this was a big win for this group.
"Early on in the season, we could not finish. Now we're able to close."
The Lady Wave's turnaround in this contest began in the opening seconds of the third quarter after Nettleton (13-8) had fought its way to a 21-17 halftime lead.
Chy Cunningham hit a smooth and innocent jumper from the wing for the first basket of the third quarter for Tupelo (14-11). Cunningham then proceeded to go on a personnel 10-0 run, capping her offensive effort with a driving layup with 4 minutes, 54 seconds to play in the period.
That gave the Lady Wave a 27-21 lead. And with Faith Cook's two baskets to open the fourth quarter, Tupelo had moved to a 44-31 advantage.
But the Lady Tigers fought their way back. Nettleton star point guard Camry Jones finally pulled her team within a basket on a three-point play with 2:21 remaining that had Nettleton trailing 48-45.
A Dasia Mosley rebound and basket stopped the Nettleton surge, and three free throws by Cunningham in the closing seconds helped to ice the win for Tupelo.
"Tupelo did a good job handling our pressure, and they did a good job taking Camry away on offense," Nettleton coach Derrick Sharp said. "In that third quarter run by Tupelo, we had a hard time connecting on some shots, and we didn't get back on defense like we should."
Cunningham paced the Lady Wave with 23 points, with Jones shooting in 22 for Nettleton.
Having wrapped up Region 2-6A play with a one-point win over South Panola Thursday, Tupelo next looks to its final regular season home game Tuesday against Calhoun City.
- (B) Tupelo 81, Nettleton 41: The Golden Wave showed off their consistency and team play, gradually pulling away from the Tigers.
Shane Butler had four 3-pointers in the first half as Tupelo (23-3) moved to a 42-20 halftime lead. Butler, on his way to a team-high 23, added two more 3-pointers in the third period as the Wave built their lead to 65-36.
Odarious Lowe led Nettleton with 13.