From SFA Athletics
HAMMOND, LA (Press Release)- The Stephen F. Austin women's basketball team mounted a strong rally late in the second half but ultimately couldn't overcome a shaky first half, falling to Southeastern Louisiana 65-56 on Monday night inside the University Center.
Junior guard Brentney Branch caught fire in the fourth quarter, nearly helping the Ladyjacks pull off the comeback after trailing by as many as 13. Branch hit four three-pointers in a 4:42 span in the final frame to get SFA within two, 53-51, with 3:26 to play. She finished the night with 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting – all attempts coming from distance.
Sophomore forward Stevi Parker also had a big fourth quarter with eight points. She knocked down one of two free throws with 2:01 on the clock to move SFA to one point back, 55-54. The Lady Lions cut off the charge there, however, going on a 9-0 run to build a 64-54 edge in the closing seconds.
For the second straight game, and third time this season, Parker notched a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Six of her boards came off the offensive glass and she fired at a crisp 7-for-13 clip from the field.
Parker and Branch combined to score 20 of SFA's 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Junior guard Taylor Ross had a balanced night for the 'Jacks, tallying eight points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals. Sophomore forward Danielle Rogers matched Ross with eight points on a perfect 3-for-3 night from the floor.
The Ladyjacks got off to a sluggish start offensively and trailed 28-16 at the halftime break. Although SFA got several good looks against SLU's zone defense, shots weren't falling at their usual league-best rate. After 20 minutes of play, the 'Jacks were shooting 25 percent from the field, with a 1-for-14 effort from beyond the arc.
Solid defending on the other end of the court kept SFA in the game. The Ladyjacks forced eight turnovers while limiting the Lady Lions to a 29 percent shooting mark in the first half.
Parker rattled in the night's opening bucket but SFA was only able to keep the lead for 59 seconds as SLU led the rest of the way.
The 'Jacks ended with a 32.8 team field goal percentage while the Lady Lions compiled a 36.1 shooting mark. Four SLU players scored in double figures.
SFA controlled many phases of the game, outscoring SLU in paint points (30-20), fast break points (10-0) and bench scoring (27-7).