KATY, Texas - For the first time since 2007, the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks are advancing to the second round of the Southland Conference Tournament.
Fourth-seeded SFA defeated No. 5 Lamar Tuesday in a gritty, 73-64 victory, marking the first win in tournament play for the current senior class.
SFA will move on to face No. 8 Nicholls State on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. after the Colonels shocked No.1 seed Central Arkansas.
The Ladyjacks had four players in double figures, including a team-high 16 points from senior Tammara Marion. SFA also got double-digit performances from Porsha Roberts (15 points), Courtney Conwright (12 points) and Amina Sawyer (10 points).
Lamar's Kalis Loyd had a sensational game for the Lady Cardinals in the losing cause, scoring a game-high 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting, 21 of those points coming in the second half.
The Ladyjacks outshot Lamar 54 to 47 percent and won the rebounding advantage 30-23.
SFA trailed 64-62 with 4:34 remaining in the contest before going on a 11-0 run to close the game. Junior Ashlee Mells hit her biggest shot of the night with four minutes remaining, knocking down an open three-pointer to give the Ladyjacks a 65-64 advantage.
After both teams went nearly two minutes without scoring, Conwright drove the lane and found a wide open Sawyer underneath the basket for an easy layup to put SFA on top 67-64. Then following a missed three-pointer from Lamar's Gia Ayers, Marion increased the lead to 69-64 on a made jumper.
After one more missed three-point from the Lady Cardinals, Roberts put the game away with a putback layup as the shot clock expired to put SFA in front 71-64.
After a bit of a sluggish start in which the Ladyjacks fell behind 16-8 in the first seven minutes of the first half, SFA was able to gather themselves and close the half on a 27-15 run to take a 35-31 lead into halftime.
SFA was led in scoring by Marion, who scored eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, including two consecutive three-pointers to give the Ladyjacks their first six points of the evening. The Ladyjacks offense got a big boost in the first half from Conwright, who provided a scoring punch with seven points in just 12 minutes of action. Sawyer also surpassed her season scoring average in the first 20 minutes with seven points of her own on 3-of-4 shooting.
Lamar had a balanced scoring effort in the first half with four players scoring five or more points, of which included just six points from Loyd.