NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks hit the road for return trips to Lamar and Sam Houston State this week as the Ladyjacks look for repeat performances after defeating the Cardinals and Bearkats at home in January. SFA (13-10, 7-4 SLC) tangles with Lamar (13-9, 8-3) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and then will face Sam Houston State (10-12, 5-6) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The men's and women's doubleheader at Sam Houston State will also be webcast live on espn3.com.
With four weeks left in the conference schedule the Southland Conference standings are jam packed, and the regular season title is still anybody's to win. SFA is currently two games behind Central Arkansas, and only three games separates UCA from McNeese State, Northwestern State and Oral Roberts in fifth place.
The Ladyjacks have had the hot hand lately, shooting 50 percent or better in three of their last four games. SFA hit 26-of-50 shots on Saturday against McNeese State.
SFA's defense also has been strong with the No. 2 scoring defense in the league and No. 1 in terms of opponent shooting percentage. While the Ladyjacks have shot better than 50 percent lately, they held McNeese State to just 25.8 percent from the field on Saturday.
Scouting Lamar · The Cardinals are currently in 2nd place in the Southland Conference standings with an 8-3 record in league play. Lamar is the No. 1 scoring offense in league play with 73.4 points per game.
· Gia Ayers leads Lamar in scoring with 16.6 points per game in Southland play. She ranks 4th in the league and is the league leader in assists at 5.5 per game. Ayers also is among the best defenders with 2.2 steals per game.
· Lamar is near the bottom of the league in rebounding margin, but the Cardinals make up for it with tough defense. Lamar is 2nd in the Southland in steals at 10.0 and turnover margin at plus-6.3.
· The last time SFA and Lamar met, the Ladyjacks got the victory 64-43. Ayers scored only 6 points while committing 5 turnovers. Dominique Edwards tallied 15 points as she currently averages 14.7 points in league play.
Scouting the Bearkats · Sam Houston State is led by Angela Beadle as the forward is averaging a double-double in league play with 16.0 points per game and 11.3 rebounds. Only 3 players in the Southland are averaging a double-double in conference games. Beadle has posted 12 double-doubles overall and 7 in conference play. She also scored 34 points against Southeastern Louisiana earlier this year for the top performance in the league this season.
· The Bearkats have the No. 1 rebounding offense in the league with an average of 16.0 offensive rebounds per game. Beadle plays a big role in that as she also is No. 1 in the league in the category individually with 4.1 offensive boards to tie SFA's Porsha Roberts.
· Beadle is among the Southland's top defenders in the paint. In addition to her being the league's top rebounder, she is swatting away 2.45 blocks per game in conference games to rank 3rd. She had 4 blocks against SFA in the team's previous meeting this season.
· Sam Houston State has played a number of tight games this year. The Bearkats' average margin in conference games is -3.6. Sam Houston State has 5 victories in Southland play this year, and 4 have been by less than 10 points, including 2 wins by just 1 point and another by 3 points.
Catching Up with SFA · The Ladyjacks are currently 2nd in the Southland in scoring defense in league play, allowing 59.1 points per game thanks to SFA's opponent shooting percentage of 37.4 that ranks 1st in the Southland. SFA has allowed conference opponents to score more than 60 points just 4 times, with 1 of those games going to double-overtime. Overall, the Ladyjacks are 12-2 this season when allowing 60 or fewer points.
· SFA is 3rd in the Southland Conference in blocked shots per game with an average of 4.2 in league play. The Ladyjacks have posted 5 or more blocks 12 times this season, including 3 of the last 4 games. The Ladyjacks are 9-3 in those contests.
· One reason why SFA is blocking so many balls again is junior center Porsha Roberts. Roberts is averaging 2.09 per game overall to lead the conference with 48 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 43rd in the nation in blocks per game heading into this weekend's action. In league play, Roberts ranks 5th with 1.5 blocks per game. She has averaged 2.0 over the last 5 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 15.2 points per game overall and is shooting 55.1 percent on the year to rank 34th in the NCAA. In league play, Roberts is averaging 14.9 points and is second in shooting percentage at 57.8.
· 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 the top rebounding team in the Southland Conference. SFA currently holds a rebounding margin of plus-12.2 in league games. No other team has a positive margin in double digits. In league play, Porsha Roberts averages 7.8 boards, Tierany Henderson pulls down 6.9, Antionette Carter contributes 5.6, and Daylyn Harris adds 5.4 rebounds. Harris recently posted her first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds against McNeese State.
· Freshman guard Taylor Ross has made an impact on SFA's offense this season. The newcomer leads the team in assists despite her only recently adding more time as the point guard. Ross is averaging 3.9 assists per game in league play and ranks 8th in the conference. She also ranks 7th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. She is the only freshman in the Southland to rank in the top 15 in both categories. Ross has averaged 5.5 assists per game over the last two weeks.
· 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.
Ladyjacks Dominate Bearkats, 89-59
Stephen F. Austin raced out to a 20-point lead midway through the opening half and never looked back, dominating rival Sam Houston State 89-59 at William R. Johnson Coliseum. The Ladyjacks notch their fifth-straight victory, improving to 8-6 on the year and 2-0 in Southland Conference play.