Ladyjacks Take Charge in 77-63 win over McNeese

Ladyjacks Take Charge in 77-63 win over McNeese

SFA Athletics Release 

The Stephen F. Austin Women's basketball team opened their 2017 Southland Conference tournament in the quarterfinal round against McNeese on Friday. The Ladyjacks took the 2-0 lead in the second minute of play and never looked back for the next 38:59 minutes when the final buzzer rang. SFA knocked off McNeese from the Southland Conference Tournament with a 77-63 win over the Cowgirls. Four Ladyjacks were in double figures this afternoon. Senior Taylor Ross totaled her fifteenth game with 20 or more points after posting 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists. She went 10-for-21 from the field and 4-for-7 at the free-throw line. Redshirt Stevi Parker had 18 points and 14 rebounds, her career 11th and season eighth double-double. Sophomore Kennedy Harris totaled 11 points, two rebounds, and a steal. Junior Taylor Jackson rounded out the Ladyjacks in double digits with 10 points and four rebounds.

As a team, SFA out rebounded the Cowgirls 52-34 and made 50 of their 77 points from inside the paint. The Ladyjacks shot 41.8 percent (28-67) from the field and 67.9 percent (19-28) at the charity stripe. SFA's largest lead was 24 in the third quarter, and they had 20 points off the SFA bench compared to McNeese's three points.

Ladyjacks opened their drive with back-to-back layups from Ross. Parker then drove home the triple to put SFA up 7-2 at the 7:43 mark. McNeese answered back with a three-pointers of their own, but the Ladyjacks surged into a 6-2 streak to put SFA up by six at the first media timeout. It would take another two minutes before either team would get on the board, Jackson sunk the basket from in the inbounds play to give SFA the momentum. The Ladyjacks then powered through an eight point run at the end of the first that held McNeese speechless, putting up a 23-7 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes.

The Ladyjacks held the Cowgirls scoreless for eight minutes and two second going in to the second quarter. SFA emptied their bench, and Sophomore Chanell Hayes capped a 6-4 SFA run with a shot from beyond the arc at the 4:32 mark. Both teams then split a 5-5 run with one minute left in regulation, and then Ross tacked on her fourteenth point of the game at the buzzer to put SFA up 41-20 going into the locker room.

After the intermission, play would slow down some as the Ladyjacks game managed the start of the second half. Parker added four points and freshman Lovisa Brunnberg tacked on another two at the 5:39 mark to give SFA the 47-25 lead. A great offensive hustle finished by a put-back from Parker pushed SFA to a 23 point lead at the 4:00 mark. Harris put up back-to-back layups in the third minute, and McNeese answered back with a triple that only chipped away at the SFA 17 point lead.

The Cowgirls cut the Ladyjacks' lead to 11 points with a 9-0 run at the start of the fourth. SFA switched back in their starters at the 9:08 mark, and Ross scored four points in the next minute and a half to save SFA's 62-47 lead. McNeese clawed their way through a 12-6 run to cut the SFA lead to eight at the 2:06 mark, but junior Taylor Jackson closed the game out going 6-6 at the free throw line to preserve the SFA win, 77-63.

SFA will be back in the Merrell Center tomorrow to take on Lamar at 3:30 p.m. for the semifinal round of the Southland Conference Tournament. The game will once again be live streamed on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.