NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks stay home this week to take on Nicholls State and McNeese State. Both opponents are coming off victories on Saturday, and Nicholls is currently tied with the Ladyjacks in third place in the conference standings. SFA (12-9, 6-3 SLC) will tangle with the Colonels (11-9, 6-3) at 6 p.m. Thursday and the Cowgirls (12-8, 5-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Halfway through Southland Conference play, and the regular season title is still anybody’s to win. SFA is currently one game behind Central Arkansas, and only two games separate UCA from McNeese State and Northwestern State in sixth place.
The Ladyjacks look to continue their hot shooting of late. SFA hit more than half its shots in both games last week, including a season-high 59.3 percent against Abilene Christian. SFA ranks sixth in the league in shooting percentage while Nicholls is 10th and McNeese 12th.
Promotions · Thursday’s games against Nicholls State will be Military Appreciation Night. Veterans and current military members will receive 4 free tickets. Free military themed T-shirts will be available while supplies last. Special recognitions will be made throughout the night honoring veterans and current military members.
· Saturday’s game against McNeese State will be the Ladyjacks’ Play for Kay game as part of the women’s basketball community’s effort to raise breast cancer awareness. Free pink T-shirts will be available to fans while supplies last, and there will be a silent auction with proceeds made going to the Kay Yow Foundation, named in honor of NC State legendary coach Kay Yow who lost her long battle with breast cancer in 2009. Members of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority will also be on hand distributing pink ribbons and information on breast cancer awareness.
Scouting Nicholls State · The Colonels enter Johnson Coliseum following a pair of wins over Oral Roberts and conference leader Central Arkansas. Nicholls handed UCA its second loss in conference play to tighten the league standings halfway through the Southland schedule.
· Emani White leads the Colonels in scoring with 17.6 points per game as she ranks 2nd in the conference. She is a threat from long range and is among the top free-throw shooters in the league as well. In the win over Central Arkansas, White has 23 points on 6-of-15 shooting and hit all 10 of her free throws. White has been named Southland Conference Player of the Week twice this season.
· The Colonels were picked to finish 3rd in the Southland this year by the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Nicholls did receive some 1st-place votes as well.
Scouting the Cowgirls · McNeese State is led by Allison Baggett as the sophomore guard is averaging 16.9 points per game in conference play. She recently posted 29 points in the Cowgirls’ victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday. Baggett hit 12-of-22 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.
· The Cowgirls rank 4th in the conference in scoring defense as they allow 63.8 points per game in conference play. McNeese has allowed less than 60 points in all but 1 of its 5 wins in the Southland.
· McNeese State is 3-4 on the road this season, including 1-1 in league play.
· Cecilia Okoye ranks 6th in the Southland in rebounds with an average of 9.4 in league play. She had a double-double against Oral Roberts on Saturday with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Okoye pulled down 7 offensive rebounds to help McNeese State score 15 second chance points.
Catching Up with SFA · The Ladyjacks’ win over Houston Baptist earlier this month was win No. 950 in Ladyjack history. The Ladyjacks are among the winningest programs in NCAA history with 953 total wins since the program’s start in 1969 to rank 5th all-time. SFA is the winningest program in the state of Texas, ahead traditional powerhouses Texas and Texas Tech along with current power Baylor. Only two programs have won more than 1,000 games, and SFA is trying to become the third joining Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. James Madison and Old Dominion are currently ahead of SFA on the list with Texas close behind the Ladyjacks in all-time wins.
· The Ladyjacks are currently 2nd in the Southland in scoring defense in league play, allowing 58.4 points per game thanks to SFA’s opponent shooting percentage of 38.3 that ranks 4th in the Southland. SFA has allowed conference opponents to score more than 60 points just 3 times. The Ladyjacks are 11-2 this season when allowing 60 or fewer points.
· SFA is 2nd in the Southland Conference in blocked shots per game overall with an average of 4.1 in league play. The Ladyjacks have posted 5 or more blocks 11 times this season, including each of the last 2 games. The Ladyjacks are 8-3 in those contests.
· One reason why SFA is blocking so many balls again is junior center Porsha Roberts. Roberts is averaging 2.19 per game overall to lead the conference with 46 and is on pace for one of the best seasons in school history. At her current pace, Roberts would come up just short of the career record at SFA before the end of the regular season. She is 40th in the nation in blocks per game heading into Thursday’s action. In league play, Roberts ranks 5th with 1.7 blocks per game. She has averaged 2.7 over the last 3 games, however.
· Porsha Roberts cracked the 1,000 point mark in January at Northwestern State. The forward posted 17 points in the loss and finished the game with 1,009 career points scored. She leads the team with 15.1 points per game overall and is 2nd in the Southland with a shooting percentage of 54.3. That mark also stands 38th in the NCAA this year.
· The Ladyjacks are the top rebounding team in the Southland Conference. SFA currently holds a rebounding margin of plus-10.0 in league games. The Ladyjacks have that distinction despite only have 2 players rank among the top 20 in the Southland individually. Porsha Roberts averages 7.7 boards and Tierany Henderson pulls down 7.2.
· Freshman guard Taylor Ross has made an impact on SFA’s offense this season. The newcomer leads the team in assists despite her limited time of running the point behind. Ross is averaging 3.6 assists per game in league play and ranks 10th in the conference. She is the only freshman in the Southland to rank in the top 15 in assists. She also is 1 of only 2 freshmen to rank in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. Last week, Ross averaged 5.5 assists per game and contributed 3.0 steals.
· The Ladyjacks were chosen as the favorite to win the Southland Conference this season by the league’s coaches and sports information directors. SFA received 7 of the 12 first-place votes in both polls and was picked ahead of Oral Roberts. The Ladyjacks also had 2 players chosen to the Preseason All-Conference Teams. Porsha Roberts was a selection on the first team while Antionette Carter was voted to the second.
- SFA -
The Last Meeting
February 14, 2013
Ladyjacks Comeback Falls Short At Nicholls
The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks basketball team came within one shot of making a 15-point second half comeback on Thursday night at Nicholls State, but Annette Davis' layup attempt at the buzzer rimmed out in a 65-64 loss to the Colonels at Stopher Gym.
SFA Unable To Complete Comeback At McNeese
Despite rallying from a 15-point first half deficit to take a lead late in the second half, the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks were unable to hang on and fell 66-60 to the McNeese State Cowgirls Wednesday evening at the Civic Center.