NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release)– Stephen F. Austin faced off against Abilene Christian on Thursday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum. The stakes were high in the match-up between the two schools tied for second place in conference play. Redshirt junior Stevi Parker totaled a career high 31 points and 18 rebounds. The Bixby, Okla. native also completed her seventh double-double this season and career tenth. She was on fire beyond the arc going 4-7, also a career high, 9-15 from the field, and 9-10 at the free-throw line. Senior Taylor Ross was the only other Ladyjack in double-digits with 20 points, going 100 percent, 4-4, at the charity stripe. Senior Adrienne Lewis totaled nine points and six rebounds.
Abilene Christian outrebounded the Ladyjacks 34-33 and shot 12-24 (50%) from behind the arc. The Wildcats were led by senior guard Alexis Mason who totaled 26 points, 24 of those points from triples.
The biggest lead either team had of the night was ten by SFA in the first quarter, and ACU’s biggest lead was only nine at the beginning of the fourth. The leading score a majority of the time was by one or two points, with the game being tied up 10 different times and 17 lead changes. SFA scored more points in the paint over the Wildcats, 32-22, and more points off second chances, 17-10. They shot 41.7 percent from the field and went 17-19 (89.5%) from the charity stripe, a season high free-throw percentage for the team.
The Ladyjacks started the pressure right at the tip-off with Ross sinking the first jumper of the game from beyond the arc. From there SFA went on a 9-2 streak before Abilene got their first field goal through the net at the 5:17 mark. ACU went on an 8-0 run after SFA got a five-second call on an inbounds. The Wildcats tied the game at 13 at the end of the first quarter.
ACU scored two more buckets in the second quarter to grab their first lead of the game at the 9:23 mark. It would take four minutes and 47 seconds for the Ladyjacks to get another bucket. An And-One situation from Branch at the 8:13 mark gave SFA the lead 20-17. Abilene Christian took advantage of two SFA turnovers late in the second to take the one point lead 29-28 at the 1:28 mark. Parker followed up with an And-One call on the next possession to put the lead back in SFA hands. The Wildcats got the final say in the quarter, tying the score at 31.
After the intermission, Parker opened the boards for the second half with a triple at the 8:56 mark. SFA then took as much as a four point lead, before ACU gathered themselves to tie it up again at the 6:50 mark. SFA would fight for a four point lead after Parker sunk her third triple at the 5:02 mark. Both teams would flirt with as much as a one point lead on either side for the next three minutes until ACU broke away with a 5-0 run at the end of the third.
SFA took back the momentum at the beginning of the fourth with a defense hustle that resulted in a jumper from Lewis that tied the game at 54 with 7:41 left in the game. The lead changed another four times in the next two minutes and was tied once again at 62 at the 4:18 mark. Abilene Christian then monstered an 8-1 run to pull their biggest lead of the night over SFA, 70-63. SFA mustered a 10-3 run over the Wildcats, but they could not regain the lead, falling 80-73.
SFA will be on the road again for a three game road series that starts in Hammond, La. The Ladyjacks will take on Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is set for 4:00 p.m., and the game will be live streamed on ESPN3 as a special Southland Conference production. After then, SFA will travel to New Orleans, La. and Conway, Ark.