KATY, TX (KTRE)
The SFA Ladyjacks have reached the SLC Tournament championship for the second straight year after beating Central Arkansas 70-60 Saturday afternoon.
The team will now play the 4 seed, Nicholls State, in the final Sunday at 11 a.m.
The championship comes a year after 3-seeded SFA fell to UCA, 60-35 in the 2017 title game. This year, the 2-seeded 'Jacks were able to enjoy a bye all the way to the semi-finals.
"Nicholls will be playing their third game so hopefully we'll have a little more gas," said SFA Head Coach Mark Kellogg. "Our bench will be fresh and ready to roll."
In the opening semi-final game, Nicholls upset Lamar, 74-68.
SFA came out of the gate strong and it appeared the extra rest due to the double-bye would be the difference early when they took a 21-14 lead after the first quarter.
"It was that pace, that tempo, that we like to control," said SFA Head Coach Mark Kellogg.
But Central Arkansas answered back with a 20-11 run in the second quarter.
SFA came back after the half and outscored UCA 18-12 in the third quarter and 20-14 in the fourth.
"That second half, was about as good as we've been probably in a long time," Kellogg said. "The free throw line was probably the difference, our ability to attack, and then make them."
The Ladyjacks went to the free throw line 29 times and converted 21 points. UCA made nine trips to the charity stripe.
Stevi Parker led all scorers with 22 points behind a 7-for-11 shooting performance.
Imani Johnson, Chanell Hayes and Taylor Jackson also scored in double digits with 14, 12 and 10 points each, respectively.
"It's a team effort," Johnson said. "We handled it together."
In a previous matchup, SFA beat Nicholls State, 86-73, on the road on Jan. 3.