From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Five players on the Stephen F. Austin women's basketball team scored in double figures and the Ladyjacks shot nearly 57 percent from the field to down Incarnate Word 74-62 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum on Thursday night.
The win marked the fifth straight for SFA (12-10, 6-5 SLC) and was also the 999th victory in program history. The Ladyjacks are now just one away from the 1,000-win milestone - an achievement attained by only five other programs in women's college basketball history.
The Ladyjacks improved their all-time record against the Cardinals to 4-0, with all four victories coming by at least 12 points.
For the ninth time this season, at least four players reached the double digit scoring level for SFA as five players hit the total on Thursday night. After only tallying two points in the first half, junior guard Taylor Ross poured in 13 second-half points on 5-of-7 shooting to finish with 15.
Also nearing a significant milestone, Ross needs just 15 more points to join the coveted 1,000-point club at SFA. She will try to reach the 1K mark as her team goes for win 1,000 on Saturday.
Ross posted a season-high with seven assists while also leading the way with four steals.
Senior guard Taylor Schippers finished with 15 points as well, hitting 6-of-11 attempts from the floor and going 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Joining the Taylors in double figures was junior guard Brentney Branch with 14 points. Junior center Adrienne Lewis ended the evening with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and also registered a career-best four blocks. Senior guard Paulletta Powell also made the most of her field goal attempts, hitting 5-of-7 to contribute 11 points to the winning cause.
The `Jacks shot 56.6 percent (30-of-53) as a team on Thursday for their best shooting performance during the entire 2015-16 season. A main reason for the high percentage was the dominance down low. SFA outscored UIW 44-24 in the paint overall for the game.
SFA, the top shooting team in the league this season, started red hot from the field on Thursday to build a 23-16 advantage after the first quarter. The `Jacks shot 68.8 percent (11-for-16) in the opening frame, facilitated by a heavy dose of Powell and Lewis. Powell scored seven points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting while Lewis chipped in six points in the period.
The duo combined for the first six points of the game to guide SFA to a 6-0 start. That cushion snowballed to 21-11 after back-to-back buckets from Branch with 1:57 to play in the first.
A small field goal drought to start the second quarter was quickly put to an end by a Branch steal and fast break layup at the 5:24 mark. Her seventh and eighth points of the game put the `Jacks up 29-20, but UIW closed the half on a 10-4 run to make it a 33-30 SFA lead at the break.
More efficient offensive play was reflected by a 66.7 field goal percentage (16-of-24) in the second half as the Ladyjacks coasted comfortably to victory. The Cardinals (6-16, 3-8 SLC) never led in the game and trailed by as many as 14 with 1:28 to play.
SFA forced 22 UIW turnovers and swiped 16 steals. Freshman guard Chanell Hayes notched a career-high with three takeaways to go along with Ross' four.
The Ladyjacks will go for their sixth straight win and win number 1,000 on Saturday afternoon when they meet up with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The two teams will do battle starting at 3:30 p.m. to kick off SFA's annual Cram the Coliseum on ESPN3. The `Jacks beat the Islanders 71-66 on Jan. 30.