Career High from Branch Keeps the Drive Alive with 94-75 Win Over UIW

SFA Athletics
SFA Athletics

SFA Athletics Release 

Stephen F. Austin played their seventeenth game of the season against the University of Incarnate Word at the McDermott Center on Saturday evening. The Ladyjacks had a terrific offense attack led by three players earning double-doubles, and senior Brentney Branch eclipsed her career high points in a game. Branch had 29 points, twelve of those from beyond the arch. She was 13-19 in the field and 3-7 for three-pointers. Senior Taylor Ross had her third season double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Redshirt junior Stevi Parker took her season fifth double-double honor with 10 points and led the Ladyjacks in rebounds with 14 boards. Freshman Riley Harvey had a tremendous game pulling down 11 rebounds and posting 13 points, her first collegiate double-double. Within the first half, the Ladyjacks as a team posted a season high 53 points within the first half. The last record high was 50 points in the first half against Prairie View A&M. SFA outrebounded the Cardinals 46-33 and kept UIW to a 39.4 shooting percentage from the field. The Ladyjacks had their fifth game this season were they shot over 50 percent from the field. They went 54.9 percent from the field and 80 percent at the charity stripe.

SFA won the tip-off, and senior Adrienne Lewis scored first for SFA during the opening possession. UIW did not want to be counted out of the opening drive and quickly put up five points to take the small lead for 49 seconds. Branch found her stride in the eighth minute putting up five points in back-to-back possessions. It would then take a minute and a half for the defense to break down, and UIW scored off a three-pointer to cut the SFA lead to a 5 point game. Sophomore Kennedy Harris took advantage of an and-one situation that gave the Ladyjacks their first double-digit lead of the game, 20-10, at the 3:08 mark. SFA went on a 10-4 streak to finish off the first quarter up, 30-14.

In the second quarter, Ross and Parker went to work for SFA in the paint, but UIW answered back with back-to-back triples. Both teams scored ten points on either side of the floor in the next five minutes, highlighted by a back-door look from Ross to Parker for the finish. This gave SFA the 20 point lead over the Cardinals at the 7:27 mark. SFA tried to take the momentum after a flagrant foul was called on UIW, but the Cardinals took off with a 14-12 run to cut the SFA lead to 19. A triple from Harris ended the second quarter giving the Ladyjacks the 53-32 advantage going into the locker room.

After the intermission, Lewis was back in the paint for the Ladyjacks. She went to work putting up two points, two rebounds, and a block in the first minute and a half. It took the Cardinals another 90 seconds to recover and put two points back on the board. Branch claimed eight points in the third quarter, but the Ladyjacks could not stop the UIW offense that drove a 14-10 run going into the third media timeout. SFA came out strong with a 4-0 start with Ross and Harris. Branch put on the gas posting her 26th and 29th point of the game and gave SFA the 30 point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Ladyjacks started the fourth with a 9-3 run and then emptied their bench which sparked a 19-9 run from UIW. The effort would fall short of the SFA 19 point lead. The game would finish out 94-75.

Next up, the Ladyjacks will host a two game home series next week. The Central Arkansas Sugar Bears will come into town on Wednesday night, Jan 25. Tipp-off will be at 5:30 pm, and then SFA will match up against New Orleans on Saturday, Jan 28th.