From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – A battle of two traditional Southland Conference powers takes on a slightly different setting on Wednesday, when the second-place Ladyjacks square off with Central Arkansas in Conway. SFA (15-3, 6-0 SLC) is riding a seven-game winning streak into the matchup, while the Sugar Bears (7-11, 2-6 SLC) once again field a dominant defensive squad despite dropping six of their last eight.
Fans can catch live video of the matchup on the Bear Nation Network (link above) on a pay-per-view basis. A live call of the action can be heard on the airwaves of FM 94.7 KVLL, with radio wunderkind Bobby Mauro on the delivery. Live stats can be found via a link above, and as always fans are encouraged to follow the Ladyjacks on Twitter (@SFA_WBB) for in-game updates and content. Featuring the closest series between SFA and a Southland Conference opponent, the all-time slate between SFA and UCA currently sits at 13-9 in SFA’s favor, thanks to a clean sweep of all three matchups last season. The last came in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament, as the Ladyjacks knocked off the Sugar Bears by a 70-60 score.
In keeping with tradition over the past few seasons, defense is something the Sugar Bears hang their hats on. UCA ranks 36th in the nation in scoring defense at 57.3 points per game, a figure which leads the Southland Conference. Scoring offense has been another story, however, as UCA averages just under 60 points per game, a mark with ranks 279th out of 349 schools in Division I.
Kamry Orr leads the Sugar Bears with 14.9 points per game on 35 percent shooting, and is also the team’s leader in assists and steals. Head coach Sandra Rushing has spent 29 seasons in the role, racking up a 532-315 record overall and a 131-66 mark at UCA. Coming into Wednesday’s matchup with no shortage of momentum, the Ladyjacks are looking to continue a season-long winning streak that has spanned seven games. During that time, the Ladyjacks have averaged 76.5 points per game on over 44 percent shooting from the field.
Seniors Chanell Hayes (14.5 ppg) and Imani Johnson (11.8 ppg) continue to be focal points of SFA’s offense, while freshman Aiyana Johnson has taken her play to another level in conference play, averaging 14.3 points in the past three games. The Ladyjacks have also been very effective on defense this season, holding opponents to 57.4 points per game on 35 percent shooting from the field and a 28 percent clip from beyond the arc. SFA forces opponents into 19.2 turnovers per game, with 11.2 of those coming via steals.
• SFA is 5-1 in games played on Wednesday this season and 21-3 in such games under head coach Mark Kellogg.
• In the month of January, SFA has been hard to beat. The Ladyjacks have accrued a 23-6 record in the month during Kellogg’s tenure, including a 6-0 mark this season. • The Ladyjacks are ranked 23rdin the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, the lone Southland Conference team to receive a ranking in the weekly poll. • SFA’s mark of 17.9 assists per game is the 18th best mark in NCAA Division I women’s basketball, while its 11.2 steals per contest ranks 22nd nationally.
• Mark Kellogg is 3-3 against the Sugar Bears and Rushing in his previous three seasons at SFA.