Team Information Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks (19-11, 13-5 SLC) Head Coach: Brandon Schneider (Wayland Baptist, 1995) Career Record: 374-128 (16th season), Record at SFA: 68-56 (4th season)
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin heads into the 2014 Southland Conference Tournament this week as the No. 2 seed after sharing the regular season title with Lamar. It was the 16th Southland Conference title for the Ladyjacks. SFA (19-11, 13-5 SLC) received a double-bye into the semifinals and will play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3.
Teams in SFA’s half of the bracket are No. 7 seed McNeese State, No. 6 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 3 seed Central Arkansas. McNeese State and TAMU-CC will play at 1:30 p.m. Thursday with the winner facing UCA at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
SFA is 41-11 all-time at the Southland Conference Tournament. The Last time SFA won the conference tournament was 2006, and the Ladyjacks have lost the championship game three times as well, most recently in 2012 to McNeese State.
The Ladyjacks enter the Southland Conference Tournament on a 6-game winning streak. It is the second winning streak of six or more games this season for SFA. The Ladyjacks won seven straight contests with the close of nonconference play and opening league play 4-0. A win in the semifinals on Saturday would give the Ladyjacks their 28th season with 20 or more wins.
SFA won both the men’s and women’s conference regular season titles this year. It marks only the second time in Southland Conference history a school has accomplished this feat. McNeese State did so during the 2010-11 season.
Tickets Reserved all-tournament passes are available for $75. Tickets are also available for each session of the tournament. A reserved ticket for each session is $18, while a general admission ticket is $13. Tickets to each championship game are $15 for a reserved ticket or $10 for general admission and available at all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and the Merrell Center box office.
Catching Up with SFA · The Ladyjacks clinched their 16th Southland Conference regular season title last week with a win over Central Arkansas to share the crown with Lamar. SFA bested UCA 61-41 and held the Sugar Bears to their lowest first-half scoring with only 15 points. No current member of the Southland has more than 3 conference titles. Louisiana-Monroe won 5 conference championships while a member of the Southland.
· SFA held Central Arkansas to 41 points in the regular season finale. The Ladyjacks are now 17-2 this season when holding opponents to 60 or fewer points, including 12-0 against conference opponents.
· Porsha Roberts was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The junior center averaged 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this season in league play. Over the last 4 games she averaged 3.0 blocks per game. It is her 2nd major award after being named SLC Freshman of the Year in 2011-12.
· Porsha Roberts also was named All-Southland Conference First Team. She scored 16.8 points per game in league play to rank 5th and was 3rd in shooting percentage at 58.7. She closed the season with back-to-back performances of 20 or more points and 4 blocks.
· Tierany Henderson was named All-Southland Conference Honorable Mention. The junior forward was among the league’s top rebounders and shooters. Henderson pulled down 7.1 rebounds in league games and ranked 5th in 3-pointers made.
· The Ladyjacks have the No. 2 scoring defense in the Southland allowing 57.6 points to league opponents thanks to SFA’s opponent shooting percentage of 36.5 that ranks 1st in the Southland. SFA has allowed conference opponents to score more than 60 points just 6 times, including a double-overtime game. Overall, the Ladyjacks are 17-2 this season when allowing 60 or fewer points and are undefeated in conference play in those contests at 12-0.
· SFA has allowed an average of 53.2 points in its 13 conference victories.
· The Ladyjacks are 2nd in the Southland Conference in blocked shots per game with an average of 4.2 in league play after averaging 6.0 last week. The Ladyjacks have posted 5 or more blocks 16 times this season, including 7 of the last 11 games. The Ladyjacks are 12-4 in those contests. Overall SFA is 43rd in the nation with 4.5 blocks per game.
· One reason why SFA is blocking so many balls again is junior center Porsha Roberts. Roberts is averaging 2.1 per game overall to rank 2nd in the conference and 42nd in the NCAA. Her 64 blocks rank 3rd in school history for a season, and Roberts is 5 blocks shy of tying the SFA career record of 175.
· 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 16.2 points per game overall and is shooting 56.4 percent on the year to rank 20th in the NCAA. In league play, Roberts is averaging 16.8 points.
· Freshman Brentney Branch has got hot for the Ladyjacks late in the season. She has scored in double digits in 4 of the last 7 contests. Branch led the Southland in 3-point shooting this season, hitting at a 46.3 percent clip.
· 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 960 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 played well at home during the 2013-14 season thanks to their fans creating a true homecourt advantage. SFA led the Southland in attendance with an average of 2,027 fans at conference games and went 8-1 in those games. SFA’s only home loss in conference play as a double-overtime 75-74 thriller with Lamar.
· SFA is 16-0 this season when leading with 5 minutes remaining in regulation.
· Tierany Henderson has been among the top 3-pointer shooters this season in the Southland Conference. The junior ranks 5th in 3-pointers made per game and is 7th in 3-point shooting percentage. In all games, Henderson has hit 61 shots from beyond the arc to rank 4th in SFA history. She also is approaching Top 5 status in SFA history for her career.
· The Ladyjacks are the top rebounding team in the Southland Conference. SFA currently holds a rebounding margin of plus-9.8 in league games. In league play, Porsha Roberts averages 8.2 boards and Tierany Henderson pulls down 7.1. SFA is the top rebounding team despite only having 2 individual players rank in the Top 20 in the Southland.
· 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 3.4 assists per game in league play and ranks 12th in the conference. She also ranks 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.2. She is the only freshman in the Southland to rank in the top 15 in both categories. The Ladyjacks are 8-1 when she dishes out 5 or more assists.
· SFA averages 18.4 points off the bench this season.