March 27, 2014
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The historic season for Stephen F. Austin basketball continues as the Ladyjacks defeated the College of Charleston Cougars 78-74 to advance to the championship game of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The victory marks the first time in the storied history of the Ladyjacks basketball program that SFA has won three games in a postseason tournament. Now, the Ladyjacks will attempt to win their first-ever postseason tournament.
Porsha Roberts had another stellar game for the Ladyjacks, leading the way with 28 points. It is the second straight game she has had a season-high in scoring after posting 27 points against Boise State on Saturday. Roberts was 11-of-15 from the field and pulled down nine rebounds. She also had four blocks.
With her first block in the first half Roberts became the all-time leading blocker in school history breaking the tie with Amy Collins at 175 and moving into first alone with 179 career blocks with another year of eligibility remaining.
After SFA (23-12) built a 19-point lead in the second half, Charleston (19-15) was able to pull within three points after a series of small runs to chip away at the deficit. The Ladyjacks went cold at the free-throw line as well, but it was Roberts with three seconds left that put the game on ice hitting 1-of-2 to go up by four points.
Roberts was joined in double figures by Kali Jerrell, Tireany Henderson and Taylor Ross. Jerrell and Henderson both added 12 points to the team’s tally, and Ross contributed 10. Henderson had a double-double, leading the team with 10 rebounds.
SFA came out firing from deep with three quick 3-pointers to jump to an early 13-5 lead. The Ladyjacks extended their lead to as many as 10 points in the first half before the Cougars went on 14-6 run to pull within two points and eventually closed the gap to just one point.
The Ladyjacks responded by outscoring the Cougars 6-1 over the final 3:18 of the first half to take a 6-point lead into the locker room at the break.
That first half run would continue to last for five minutes into the second half as SFA opened the second stanza with a 10-0 run and extended the lead to as many as 19 points.
From there, Charleston was able to go on small spurts to cut into the lead and got within five points late in the game and then three as SFA missed free throws, but the Cougars could not complete the comeback.
SFA was able to slow Charleston down for much of the first half to take the lead into the break, but still allowed the Cougars to rack up 11 points on second chances, a key Head Coach Brandon Schneider emphasized in preparation for Thursday’s game.
Charleston finished the game with 20 second chance points thanks to 26 offensive rebounds. SFA was able to pull down only nine offensive rebounds and score four points off them.
Turnovers played a key role for both teams as the Ladyjacks and Cougars both played intense defense in the second half. SFA did a better job of taking advantage of turnovers as Charleston had 17 turnovers, leading to 28 points for the Ladyjacks. SFA had more turnovers (23), but Charleston scored 24 points off them.
The Ladyjacks will travel to Chicago to face UI-Chicago at 3 p.m. Saturday for the WBI Championship. UIC bested Fairfield by the final score of 74-44 on Thursday night to advance to the championship game.