BEAUMONT, TX — Aiyana Johnson connected on the back half of a pair of free throws with two seconds left on the clock and the SFA women’s basketball team bested Lamar University inside the Montagne Center on Saturday. SFA’s overall record moved to 15-3 and conference record improved to 8-1 with the victory.
The Ladyjacks had three players score in double figures, led by Zya Nugent and her team-high 14 points off the bench. Stephanie Visscher added a double-double effort of 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Aiyana Johnson tacked on 11 points and nine rebounds in addition to her clutch free-throw.
The Ladyjacks were able to build up a decent advantage in points in the paint, outscoring the Cardinals 36-22 down low.
INSIDE THE BOX
» The Ladyjacks held the Cardinals to just 36.2 percent (21-58) shooting from the field and 26.7 percent (4-15) from beyond the arc.
» The Ladyjacks trailed by as many as 16 in the contest due to a 22-11 first-quarter deficit, but outscored the Cardinals 43-31 the rest of the way to secure the victory.
» Nugent was a force for the ‘Jacks off the bench, scored 14 of the reserve unit’s 16 points in the game to help lead the ‘Jacks back in the contest.
» With the victory, SFA moves into a tie with SHSU for the league league at 8-1.
After falling behind 22-11 to the Cardinals in the first quarter, the ‘Jacks clamped down in the second stanza, outscoring the hosts 16-9 to trim the deficit to 31-27 heading into halftime. Lamar would extend the lead up to a game-high 16 points (27-11) early in the second quarter, but saw the Ladyjacks go on a 14-4 run over the next six minutes to trim it to just five.
The Ladyjacks opened the third quarter up with back-to-back baskets to tie the game up at 31-31, and the quarter would end with the ‘Jacks tying it up once more at 42-42 thanks to a free throw by Nugent.
After Lamar jumped ahead 47-44 off of a three-pointer from Amber Vidal, part of her game-high 23 points, the ‘Jacks roared back with nine straight points to pull ahead 53-47. Unnerved, the Cardinals answered back with a 6-0 run of their own courtesy of Vidal and Angel Hastings, the latter of which tied the game up at 53-53 with 1:12 left to play. After securing an offensive rebound off a Johnson miss with five seconds left to play, the ‘Jacks got the ball in to Aiyana again, where she was fouled with two seconds left by Rikiah Cowart. Johnson’s split the pair of free throws, providing SFA the margin needed to withstand LU’s final heave with the victory.
The Ladyjacks are back in action on Wednesday in Nacogdoches, when they’ll take on Abilene Christian in a midweek SLC doubleheader with the men’s team. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.