From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Just two regular season games remain for the Stephen F. Austin women’s basketball team before the 2016 Southland Conference Tournament kicks off in Katy, Texas on March 10. Winners of their last 10 games, the Ladyjacks will try to maintain their reign as the league’s hottest team when they next take the court on Thursday night in Natchitoches, Louisiana against Northwestern State. Opening tip for the contest is set for 5:30 p.m. The rivalry game will be broadcast live through NSUDemons.com and Rob Meyers will also have the call on Q107.7 FM (Q1077.com).
• Using its current 10-game winning streak, SFA has vaulted all the way to third place in the Southland Conference standings with two games to go. The Ladyjacks haven't lost since Jan. 23 and are the hottest team in the league. An SFA win on Thursday would clinch the number two seed and a double bye in the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament.
• SFA put on a first half shooting clinic last Saturday night on Senior Day to cruise past Houston Baptist 66-54 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. The Ladyjacks came out on fire in the opening half, shooting a robust 68 percent (17-for-25) from the field to command complete control early on. Backcourt tandem Taylor Ross and Taylor Schippers each recorded 14 points and six rebounds while junior guard Brentney Branch added 10 points off the bench.
• During their 10-game winning streak, the Ladyjacks are winning by comfortable margins. SFA has posted seven double-digit victories in its last eight games and has won by an average of 13.4 points during the stretch.
• Three-point sharpshooter Brentney Branch has made four triples in four of her last five games and at least four on 10 different occasions in 2015-16. She now has 61 made threes during her junior campaign, ranking sixth all-time in SFA history for a single season. She is closing in on both Tierany Henderson’s 2014-15 total of 62 and Dayna Reed’s 1990-91 mark of 63. Branch also ranks sixth in program history with 149 career three-pointers made – just three shy of Britany Vinson (2002-06) for fifth.
• One of the biggest reasons the Ladyjacks have rattled off 10 straight wins has been the exceptional play of Taylor Ross. She dropped 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting with seven assists last Wednesday at UIW to lead SFA to a lopsided 82-66 victory. Ross now has ten 20-point games this season and has reached the mark in three of the last five contests. She has also played a pivotal role in getting her teammates involved, dishing out at least six assists each of the last six times out, including Saturday’s win against HBU.
• In five of the last six games, the Ladyjacks have recorded at least 11 steals and forced at least 20 turnovers to result in five double digit wins. SFA ranks 18th in the nation this season in steals per game (10.5) and 26th in turnovers forced (19.7).
• The Ladyjacks have shot the ball well all season long. The squad currently leads the Southland Conference and sits 41st nationally with a 43.6 field goal percentage through 27 games. During its 10-game winning streak, SFA has shot at least 41.0 percent in every contest and gone over 50 percent on three occasions.
A LOOK AT NORTHWESTERN STATE
• The Ladyjacks are 56-20 all-time against the Lady Demons heading into the 77th meeting between the two programs. Last year, SFA got the best in the series by sweeping NSU in both regular season matchups. Earlier this season on Feb. 4, the Ladyjacks overpowered the Lady Demons at home to capture a 68-52 victory. Led by a career-high 16 points from freshmanChanell Hayes, four ‘Jacks found their way into double figures to present a balanced front offensively.
• 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 four of their next five ending with a loss against SFA. Since falling to the Ladyjacks, NSU was won five straight with its most recent triumph coming at Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 25.
• NSU is led by senior guard Janelle Perez, who averages a team-high 15.5 points and 4.0 assists per game in 2015-16. A First Team All-SLC selection in 2015, Perez currently ranks fourth in the league with a 17.5 ppg scoring average in conference play. She has been complimented offensively by Beatrice Attura (13.4 ppg) this year.
• Following Thursday’s game, the Ladyjacks will close the regular season in Huntsville on Saturday for a rivalry game at Sam Houston State. Tipoff for the women’s portion of the doubleheader is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The seeding for the SLC Tournament will be announced that night.