From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- The Stephen F. Austin women’s basketball team couldn’t recover from a sluggish start on Thursday night against Lamar, dropping their fifth straight game, 64-60, inside William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Despite outscoring the Cardinals in the second, third and fourth quarters, the Ladyjacks couldn’t overcome a 22-9 hole created in the first 10 minutes. SFA got to within one point late in the ballgame but never led at any point.
Limited with foul trouble in the first half, junior guard Taylor Ross had to wait until the second half to find her rhythm. She dumped in 18 of her team-high 23 points on the other side of the halftime intermission to help her team nearly erase a 16-point deficit. Ross went 7-of-10 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line to post her second straight 20-point act. She has six such outings this season.
Senior guard Taylor Schippers also came on strong to help lead the comeback effort. She posted 11 points, including nine in the second half, and distributed a game-best five assists.
Schippers left no doubt on a mid-range jumper with 3:23 to play, getting the Ladyjacks back to within one point, 53-52, for the first time since 48 seconds into the game. SFA would stay no more than six points back the rest of the way but couldn’t get over the hump.
Freshman Chanell Hayes provided a nice spark off the bench in the first half, tallying all 10 of her points through the first two quarters. She came near double-double territory as she added a team-high seven rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Ladyjacks’ sheepish start snowballed into a 25-9 hole by the early stages of the second quarter. Hayes would help get her team on track, scoring six points in a 10-0 SFA run to cut the deficit to 25-19. She scored eight of her team-high 10 first half points in the quarter.
With time slipping away in the opening half, junior Brentney Branch knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key to get SFA back to within single digits at the break, 33-24. With the buzzer-beater, Branch has made a triple in all 16 games she has played in this season.
SFA played sound defense for the majority of the game, forcing Lamar to cough up the ball 26 times. Schippers, Hayes, Kennedy Harris and Paulletta Powell each grabbed two steals to front the defensive pressure.
SFA owned the advantage in paint points, points off turnovers, second chance points, fast break points and bench scoring when all was said and done.
The Ladyjacks will return to William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday for a Battle of the Piney Woods doubleheader against rival Sam Houston State. The women’s game will begin at 4:00 p.m. on ESPN3 with the men to follow.