JACKSON, Miss - The Alabama State Lady Hornets completed a perfect slate in SWAC play, defeating Texas Southern in a battle of the top two seeds during a four-set affair to win its third championship in four years.
The teams traded shots from the opening serve, with neither side able to gain much distance from the other. Early ASU miscues allowed Texas Southern initial success, and Audriana Carson posted three kills to spark a 7-1 TSU run that powered an 18-12 lead at the midpoint. The Tigers went on an 8-0 run late to push its lead to double-digits and ultimately claim the set.
Alabama State flew out of the gate in set two, as consecutive blocks by Tamara Martin aided a 6-2 start for the Hornets.
Texas Southern would rally to tie it, but Briana Dorsey put down two smashes to help ASU start pulling away down the stretch to knot the match.
The Hornets' young strikers began making a difference in set three, as freshman hitters Krysta Medearis and Bayle' Bennett notched multiple kills to push ASU ahead during the crux of set three. The Tigers were unable to get back in it as late miscues hurt their comeback attempts.
Bennett, who was named Tournament Most Valuable Player, would key the Hornets' offense in set four after the Tigers tied it 8-8. From that point, Alabama State ran away with it on the strength of a 17-6 run.
The entire All-Tournament Team:
Kendalle Howard - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Diamond Williams - Southern
Ashundria McNeal - Alabama A&M
Audriana Carson - Texas Southern
Kali Fluke - Texas Southern
Bayle' Bennett - Alabama State
Briana Dorsey - Alabama State
Coach of the Year: Penny Lucas-White, Alabama State
Tournament MVP: Bayle' Bennett, Alabama State