"I tell myself 'What's important now'," said the senior guard. "I missed two free throws earlier and then when I got to the line I took my deep breaths and said 'What's important now' and now was knocking those two down."
SIUE, 7-8 overall and 2-2 in the OVC, had to come from behind being down 10 points with 2:56 left in the third period.
"We kept our composure," said Alston. "We knew we had to come back from our loss (Thursday)."
"They stayed in the moment," added SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "If you want to relive the past or think about the future, you're going to make a lot of mistakes."
Jacksonville State, 8-7 overall and 2-2 in the OVC, went cold from the floor in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, going 0 of 9 from the field. For the final quarter, the Gamecocks shot 1 of 17, including 1 of 13 from three-point range.
As a team, the Gamecocks shot 26.2 percent (17-65) from the field and 17.1 percent (6-35) from three-point range for the game.
"The message I left on the board when we came out was 'Embrace the Grind'," said Buscher.
The Cougars grinded out the victory with just Nakiah Bell scoring in double figures with 13 points. As a team, SIUE shot 40 percent (22-55) from the field.
"We shared the ball well today," said Alston. "We stuck to the game plan. When something didn't go well, we continued and played off each other."
SIUE also won the battle on the boards 51-38. That's the second time in three games the Cougars have pulled down 50 rebounds or more as a team.
"They didn't drop their head in tough situations," said Buscher. "There's different people grabbing somebody and picking them up. That's being a team, and uts fun to win as a team."
SIUE now returns home for a pair of games. The Cougars welcome Austin Peay for a 5:30 p.m. game Thursday followed by Murray State in a 2 p.m. contest Saturday at the Vadalabene Center.