(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 1:30 PMMcNeese State and Stephen F. Austin went into Saturday as equals in the Southland Conference women’s basketball standings, but the scoreboard at William R. Johnson Coliseum indicated there is more than a little cushion between the two teams.
Baskets were harder for the Cowgirls to come by than a fishing hole in the Sahara as the Ladyjacks eased their way to a 69-49 win.
McNeese (13-9, 6-5 Southland) misfired most of the afternoon, shooting 25.8 percent (17 of 66) from the field.
“We didn’t have a lot of aggression,” said McNeese coach Brooks Donald Williams. “We were extremely passive on the offensive end. We didn’t attack and create for others. SFA had something to do with that, but we missed a lot of easy opportunities early.”
The struggle to dig out of what was a double-digit deficit for most of the game was accentuated by an icy touch from long range. The Cowgirls made five of their 25 3-point attempts.
“They played man, which is what we wanted,” Donald Williams said. “But we didn’t attack them. Early on we got bumped around and got caught up in the officiating. Those are things we can’t control. We can control going up stronger and making sure that contact is seen.”
Poor shooting was the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Cowgirls, but it was their inability to slow down the Ladyjacks (13-10, 7-4) offense in the first half that dug the grave.
McNeese allowed 37 first-half points — the most it has surrendered in the opening 20 minutes since giving up 38 at Lamar on Jan. 11. SFA was 26 of 50 (52 percent) from the field for the game.
“It was a lot like Lamar,” Donald Williams said. “Our energy and effort to start? We didn’t have any.”
SFA led by 16 at the break.
The Cowgirls were able to force enough SFA mistakes to briefly make things interesting early in the second half, cutting the deficit to 43-35 after ratcheting up the defensive intensity.
But SFA’s Kali Jerrell had an answer, hitting a 3-pointer that pushed the margin back to double digits with 13:51 to play.
The Ladyjacks extended their lead into the 20-point range with a 10-0 run in a span of 4:41.
Daylyn Harris had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds for SFA. Porsha Roberts made 7 of 9 shots for an easy 16 points.
Allison Baggett was 7 of 25 from the field to score McNeese’s game-high of 18 points.
McNeese got four rebounds from front-court starters Cecilia Okoye and NeTanya Jones, and was outrebounded 48-29.