From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Revitalized by two consecutive Southland Conference victories, the Stephen F. Austin women's basketball team will go for a third straight win on Thursday night against rival Northwestern State inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. The 7:00 p.m. game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and Q107.7 FM (Q1077.com) with Rob Meyers on the call. It will also serve as the Ladyjacks' annual Play4Kay contest to bring awareness to women's cancers and raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
• Thursday night's game against the Lady Demons serves as the final game of the first half of the conference season for the Ladyjacks. Currently in ninth place with a 3-5 league record, SFA could jump up to seventh in the standings with a win over its rival. The backstretch of the conference slate has the 'Jacks going on the road for six of their final nine games as they try to finish in the top eight to punch their ticket to the SLC Tournament in March.
• SFA shot a staggering 76.5 percent from beyond the arc last Saturday afternoon, hitting 13-of-17 three-point attempts in a 71-66 road victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The three-point clinic proved to be the best single game performance in NCAA Division I women's basketball this season as the Ladyjacks' 76.5 percent shooting mark from distance surpassed Cal State-Northridge's 75.0 percent effort to top the list.
• Junior Brentney Branch and freshman Chanell Hayes sparked the three-point barrage on Saturday against the Islanders as each guard went 4-for-5 from downtown. It was the sixth game this season in which Branch had made at least four tries while Hayes set a new career-high with the four made triples. Additionally on Saturday, junior Taylor Ross went 2-for-2, senior Taylor Schippers went 2-for-4 and senior Paulletta Powell cashed in on her only attempt from deep.
• The Ladyjacks' guard play has been a big factor in each of the team's last two wins and veterans Taylor Schippers and Taylor Ross have scored and distributed the ball efficiently as of late. Ross has posted five straight double-digit scoring games, Schippers has done so in four straight and the duo has combined for 26 assists in the last four contests. NewcomerChanell Hayes has complimented the SFA leaders by averaging 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last three games.
• Junior center Adrienne Lewis has developed into a strong post presence in conference play, averaging 8.0 rebounds through eight league games. The mark is the sixth best in the SLC. Lewis has two double-doubles in 2016, including a 17-rebound, 10-point performance on Jan. 23 against Sam Houston State.
• Junior guard Taylor Ross leads the team with 268 points this season and now has 931 points for her career. If she maintains her current 15.8 ppg seasonal average, she would join the coveted 1,000-point club this season on Feb. 18 at Lamar.
• With the exception of an 85-70 loss to first place Abilene Christian on Jan. 16, each SLC setback for SFA has come by single digits. The 'Jacks lost to Central Arkansas by two points, New Orleans by one and Lamar by four during a five-game slide from Jan. 4-21. For the season, SFA has lost seven games by 10 points or fewer.
• Junior guard Taylor Ross has shouldered a bulk of the scoring load this season and has stepped up even more since the Ladyjacks lost sophomore forward Stevi Parker for the season with an injury on Jan. 7. In five games since that date, Ross has scored in double figures in every game with an average of 18.0 ppg. She has two 20-point performances during the span and has six overall on the season.
• The absence of Stevi Parker has been apparent in SLC play. The sophomore was a rebounding machine and posted a double-double in each of her first two league games to start 2016. Without her team-high 7.9 rebounds per game, SFA has fallen to 12th place in the conference in defensive rebounds per game (21.5) through eight contests.
A LOOK AT NORTHWESTERN STATE
• The Ladyjacks are 55-20 all-time against the Lady Demons heading into the 76th meeting between the two programs. Last year, SFA got the best in the series by sweeping NSU in both regular season matchups. On Feb. 5 in Natchitoches, Tierany Henderson used a career-high 23 points to help the Ladyjacks outlast the Lady Demons, 69-61. SFA then took down its rival 56-45 in front of the home fans on March 5 to clinch the 2015 SLC regular season title.
• Northwestern State got off to a fast start to the SLC season, winning five of its first six games with the only loss coming on the road against first place Abilene Christian. After the 5-1 start, however, the Lady Demons lost three straight to Nicholls, McNeese and Central Arkansas. NSU stopped the bleeding with an 82-62 victory against Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday to improve to 6-4. The Lady Demons are just 2-8 away from home this season.
• NSU is led by senior guard Janelle Perez, who averages a team-high 15.0 points and 3.5 assists per game in 2015-16. A First Team All-SLC selection in 2015, Perez currently ranks fifth in the league with a 17.8 ppg scoring average in conference play. She has been complimented offensively by Beatrice Attura (14.2 ppg) this year.