NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release) – Stephen F. Austin starts their final week of the regular season with a home stand against rival Northwestern State, presented by ETech. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. Revenge is on the line for the Ladyjacks as they lost the first game earlier in the season to Northwestern State in an overtime battle that saw the Lady Demons up by four, 76-72, at the final buzzer. The Ladyjacks had a terrific first half pulling a 13-point lead at the halftime, but Northwestern State came out determined from the locker room and overwhelmed the Ladyjacks in the second half. Senior Taylor Ross totaled 24 points that night, and sophomore Kennedy Harris had a career-high 16 points.
The Ladyjacks are currently fourth in Southland Conference standings, while Northwestern State stands at sixth. On the NCAA lists, SFA is 15th for turnovers forced, and 25th for steals per game. The Ladyjack success on the free-throw line as helped them through many tough situations this season and has them placed ninth in the nation for total free-throws made. Within the Southland, Stephen F. Austin is averaging 75.9 points per game, the top mark in the SLC, and they are second, behind Central Arkansas, in overall won-lost percentage (77.8%).
The history and tradition behind the rivalry between Northwestern State and SFA started back in 1972 and has become the longest series in program history. Thursday night’s game will mark the 79th time that these two teams have played against one another. The Ladyjacks have had success at home against the Lady Demons, pulling a 31-5 record defending the Coliseum. The last defeat in the Coliseum at the hands of the Lady Demons was in 2009 with a close 68-64 verdict.
Last time out: SFA finished their last road game of the regular season on Saturday against the No. 1 Southland Conference team Central Arkansas. The Ladyjacks had two players in double-digits. Senior Taylor Ross had 19 points, three rebounds, and two steals. Redshirt junior Stevi Parker totaled 11 points on the night, grabbing a team-high six rebounds, and forcing two steals. Sophomore Chanell Hayes had the next highest points, pulling off seven. Freshman Alaysia Ready had a tremendous presence on defense and was perfect at the free-throw line, 4-4. As a team, the Sugar Bears outrebounded the Ladyjacks, 42-26. SFA shot only 37.0 percent from the field, their second lowest this season. However, the Ladyjacks turned out a 79.3 percent (23-29) success rate at the free-throw line, which held them neck and neck with the Sugar Bears until the final four minutes.
Scouting Northwestern State: The Lady Demons battled through a close 95-92 win over New Orleans last Saturday, Feb. 25. Seniors Beatrice Attura and Cheynne Brown each scored 34 points against the Privateers, a career-high for Brown while a career-tying record to Attura. This was the second time this season that the duo has scored 30 points each in the same game. Northwestern erased a 11-point deficit in the second half. Down by two with two minutes left, NSU mustered a 11-7 run with nine points from Attura. Northwestern sits at sixth place in the conference behind SFA and New Orleans. After Thursday’s game, Northwestern will play their last game at home against the No. 1 Central Arkansas.
Next Up: Stephen F. Austin will host big-time rival Sam Houston State for the last match up of the regular season and senior night. The Bearkats will be coming into town on Saturday, March 4. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be live streamed on ESPN3 as a special Southland Conference Wild Card Game. Fans are encouraged to come out early to help recognize our three seniors before the game.