HAMMOND, La. – Three Southeastern Louisiana players scored in double figures to help the Lady Lions to their first Southland Conference victory of 2018-19 – a 62-53 win over Central Arkansas in league women’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at the University Center.
The Lady Lions (6-7, 1-1 Southland) snapped a three-game losing streak by holding UCA to 32.7 percent shooting (18-for-55) – including 19.2 percent (5-for-26) in the first half. Southeastern closed the game on an 11-4 run to drop the Sugar Bears to 5-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.
SLU was led in scoring by Celica Sterling, who topped all scorers with 20 points. Caitlyn Williams posted her first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jaclyn Scholvin added 13 points and a game-high five assists.
“The most encouraging about this win was our balance,” Southeastern head coach Ayla Guzzardo said. “We’re a much better team when we can get so many different people involved. We played with more confidence offensively today, plus we continue to consistently work hard on the defensive end. We’re really proud of the total team effort today.
“Caitlyn gave us a big boost this afternoon,” Guzzardo continued. “Her length and athleticism make her an impact player for us on both ends of the floor. She’s been shooting the ball so well in practice; it was good to see it translate to the game today.”
Keturah Bingham was the lone Sugar Bear in double figures, leading UCA with 14 points and seven rebounds. Kamry Orr and Maddie Goodner added four assists apiece for Central Arkansas.
A matchup of two of the Southland’s top defensive teams progressed according to projections in the opening quarter. The two teams combined to go 6-for-26 in the first 10 minutes, as a 9-for-10 showing from the charity stripe allowed Central Arkansas to take a 13-10 lead after the first quarter.
Southeastern took control of the game with a stellar second quarter. Sterling, Caitlyn Williams and Charliee Dugas each hit three-point field goals, while the Lady Lions limited the visitors to just three field goals in the quarter. SLU outscored Central Arkansas, 18-7, in the period to go into the halftime break with a 28-20 advantage.
SLU would grow the lead to double digits in the third quarter, as a pair of free throws by Morgan Carrier put the Lady Lions ahead, 36-25, with 4:45 remaining. However, UCA closed the spread to 38-33 heading into the final quarter.
Central Arkansas would fully erase the deficit, knotting the score at 41-41 on a jumper by Alana Canady with 7:34 left in the final quarter. Sterling answered with five straight points to put the Lady Lions back up 46-41 with 5:20 remaining.
The Lady Lions were not able to pull away, as a three-point play by Bingham cut the lead to 51-49 with 2:11 left. Scholvin answered, completing a three-point play of her own to put SLU back up, 54-49, with 1:45 to play.
“Wednesday (a 62-51 loss to Stephen F. Austin) wasn’t Jaclyn’s best game,” Guzzardo commented. “She takes bad games personally, because we know she’s better than that. Jac bounced back with five assists and more importantly, no turnovers. We ask her to have the ball in her hands a lot and she responded today.”
After Dugas hustled and dove on the floor for a steal to give SLU the ball back, Scholvin’s backcourt mate clinched the game. Tyler Morrison banked in a tough leaner from the paint to give the Lady Lions a 56-49 advantage with a minute left. The Sugar Bears would get no closer than six the rest of the way.
“That was a huge shot and we hope Tyler can continue to play with more confidence on the offensive end,” Guzzardo said. “But where she really made a difference was her effort on the glass. For her to get seven rebounds from the guard position, that’s big for us.”
Saturday was the second of three straight games at home for the Lady Lions. Next Saturday, Southeastern welcomes Abilene Christian for a 1 p.m. contest in the University Center.
Article courtesy of Southeastern Sports Information Department.