Southern’s defense carries it to NCAA tournament

Southern wasn’t going to settle for another trip to the

WNIT.

Ashley Augerson scored 19 points, Hannah Kador added 15, and

Southern held Alabama State scoreless for 13 minutes in a 60-47

victory on Saturday night in the Southwest Athletic Conference

championship.

“We are the champs, Bear (Hannah Kador) is the MVP and we’re

taking this trophy back to Baton Rouge,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh

said. “Last year we sat here and said we would back. The

difference this year is that we won.”

The top-seeded Jaguars (23-8) won their sixth conference title

and will make their fourth NCAA tournament appearance under coach

Pugh.

“I don’t have a lot of emotion right now, but I am blessed,”

Kador said. “Last year we didn’t have the bodies to compete with

Prairie View, but this year we did.”

The seventh-seeded Lady Hornets (13-17), who upset the No. 2 and

3 seeds to get to just their third SWAC title game, lost their

offensive rhythm near the end of the first half as the Jaguars’

defense took over.

Tanika Jackson scored 22 points to lead the Lady Hornets.

“Southern presents a lot of problems for us because they play

four guards and our strength is in our bigs,” Alabama State coach

Freda Freeman-Jackson said.

Tanika Jackson was the only Lady Hornet to purge double digits

with 22 points.

“Tanika is a great player and is going to have a big career. We

have to face her another year,” Pugh said.

The Jaguars used a 15-0 run over the last seven minutes of the

first half to move from a tie to a 34-19 advantage at the break.

Although the Lady Hornets had a couple of free throw opportunities,

ASU scored just one field goal in the first 12 minutes of the

second half.

By that time the Jaguars had a 47-26 lead and control of the

game.

When Alabama State’s Jamie Chambers made a 3-pointer with just

over seven minutes remaining in the half, it would be her team’s

last basket until the 14-minute mark of the second half. The

13-minute drought eliminated the Lady Hornets from an NCAA

tournament bid.

A basket by Erica Henderson ended the drought, but by then they

trailed 39-25.

Alabama State shot just 27 percent for the game and committed

four more turnovers than Southern. But the Lady Hornets did trim

Southern’s 21-point second half lead to just 54-43 with three

minutes remaining. But that’s as close as they could get.

Jackson tried to personally bring her team back over the last

five minutes. The junior scored her team’s last 10 points either

from the free throw line or on jumpers in the lane.