Oct. 31, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks basketball team returns to the hardwood this Friday, Nov. 2 when they host the Howard Payne Lady Jackets in an exhibition scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
SFA is coming off a 2011-12 season in which they recorded their highest win total (23) in seven years and advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament Championship for the first time since 2007.
Brandon Schneider is entering his third season as head coach of the Ladyjacks and has compiled a 35-28 record in his two seasons. In 2011 Schneider helped guide SFA to one of the nation’s biggest turnarounds with a +11 win differential from 2010.
The Ladyjacks will be without the services of three seniors lost to graduation, including last year’s leading scorer Tammara Marion (14.7 ppg). SFA also said farewell to guard Courtney Conwright and center Amina Sawyer. SFA will be welcoming back nearly their entire core from last year’s squad, returning 10 lettermen and three starters.
The Ladyjacks pursuit of a 16th Southland Conference championship will be spearheaded by the growth of the reigning SLC Freshman of the Year Porsha Roberts.
A native of Waco, Texas (La Vega HS), Roberts became just the fourth Ladyjack in school history to win the award and was the first since LaToya Mills in 2002-03. Roberts averaged 9.2 points per contest (second on team) and shot a staggering .491 from the field. She set an SFA freshman record with 59 blocks, which included tying the single-game school-record with eight blocks against Texas State.
Another returnee who earned conference accolades is senior guard Ashlee Mells, who was named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year. After sitting out a season due to her transfer from Indiana University, Mells bursted onto the scene by becoming the teams third-leading scorer (6.8 points per game) and took over the team’s starting two-guard position at the midpoint of the season.
SFA also returns sophomore starting point guard Brittney Matthew, who started 16 of 33 games as a true freshman in 2011. Matthew, a native of Houston, Texas (Ft. Bend Hightower HS), made her first collegiate start as a Ladyjack midway through the 2011 campaign in a huge 69-67 road victory at Sam Houston State and dished out a season-best eight assists. Matthew finished the season with a team-best 101 assists (3.1 per game) while also averaging 5.8 points per contest.
Two other vital cogs to the Ladyjacks success will be versatile sophomore wings Daylyn Harris and Tierany Henderson. Harris, a native of Livingston, Texas (Livingston HS), played in 24 games last season before being hampered by a foot injury. Harris was one of the Ladyjacks’ premier perimeter defenders along with Henderson, who played in all 33 games. A native of Austin, Texas (Lyndon B. Johnson HS), Henderson averaged 4.2 ppg and was fourth on the Ladyjacks in rebounding (3.4 rpg).
Other returnees include Wykeia Sanders (C-Sr.), Annette Davis (F-Jr.), Sha Turner (F-Jr.), Ashley Bettis (G-So.) and Iemah Wallace-Perry (G-So.).
The Ladyjacks will also welcome a class of four signees this season, which includes forward Antoinette Carter (Murray State College), forward LaNesha Middleton (Stillwater HS), guard Paulletta Powell (Port Arthur Memorial HS) and Kali “KK” Jerrell (Howard College).
Carter, a 6’0 forward from Tishomingo, OK, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per contest for Murray State College while being tabbed the #34 nationally ranked player by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, and the #6 power forward. Carter was tabbed first-team OCAC, first-team all-region and a NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention.
Middleton, a 5'10 forward from Stillwater, OK, averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game in her senior season. Middleton earned first-team all-conference honors while being named OGBCA All-State and the News-Press All-Area Player of the Year.
Powell, a 5’8 guard from Port Arthur Memorial, Texas, averaged 12 points, 3 rebounds and two steals her senior campaign. Powell was a Co-District MVP along with McDonald’s All-American and Texas A&M signee Courtney Williams.
Jerrell, a 5’5 point guard from Big Spring, Texas, averaged 13 points, 4 assists and 2.3 steals per game while earning WJCAC All-Conference honors as well as first-team all-region.
The Ladyjacks open the regular season Friday, Nov. 9 when they host Louisiana-Monroe at 6 p.m.