Both Stephen F. Austin basketball teams are at or near the top of their respective Southland Conference standings heading into their seventh league slates on Saturday. Both squads will be at home for a doubleheader when they play host to the University of Incarnate Word as they try to stay on pace to continue on their quests to qualify for the SLC Tournament in March.
The Ladyjacks (12-3, 5-1 SLC) will start the twinbill off with a 2 p.m. matchup with the Cardinals (7-7, 3-2 SLC) in William R. Johnson Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, with the audio broadcast available on KTBQ Radio (107.7-FM). Live stats will run on SFAJacks.com.
That game will be followed at 4:30 p.m. with the matchup with the Lumberjacks (14-3, 5-1 SLC) battling the Cardinal men (4-12, 1-4 SLC). The game will be broadcast on ESPN+, with KTBQ also carrying the audio broadcast, and the live stats coming on SFAJacks.com.
Here’s a brief look at each contest:
SFA WOMEN vs. INCARNATE WORD
After blitzing one of the top defensive teams in the country to the tune of 102 points and a school-record 14 three-pointers on Wednesday, the SFA Ladyjacks will try to avoid a letdown when they battle the Cardinals in The Sawmill, where SFA has only lost one time this season.
The Ladyjacks enter the game with a two-game winning streak, having won 10 of their past 11 games and six straight at home.
SFA currently sits alone in second place in the league chase, 1.5 games behind front-runner Sam Houston State (12-4, 7-0 SLC) and one-half game ahead of third-place Abilene Christian (12-2, 4-1 SLC).
UIW has struggled on the road, producing only a 1-4 mark away from home. That lone win came on Jan. 8 against league foe Northwestern State, 69-67. The Cards are coming off a 73-56 win over McNeese on Wednesday at home. UIW enters its game with the Ladyjacks having won four of its last five overall.
SFA has never lost to Incarnate Word, posting a 7-0 mark all-time, including a 3-0 record in Johnson Coliseum. The Ladyjacks averaged 65.5 points in the two wins over UIW last season, while giving up 57.0.
The Ladyjacks had a productive night in their 61-point win over the Sugar Bears on Wednesday. Six SFA players scored in double-figures, as the Ladyjacks hit 54.7% (35-of-64) from the field and 43.8% (14-of-32) from behind the three-point arc. Three players led the way with 14 points.
Not only did the Ladyjacks dominate on the offensive end, they turned 20 Central Arkansas turnovers into 36 points on the offensive end.
“We’ve talked about it a lot this year, that we haven’t converted turnovers into a lot of points as much as we would like,” said Ladyjack head coach Mark Kellogg. “I thought we were so much better in transition (against UCA). Our spacing has gotten better too, and that’s something we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks.”
’JACKS VS. UIW CARDINALS
The Lumberjacks let a six-point lead in the final minute slip away on Wednesday night, before getting a key free throw by senior Kevon Harris with two seconds on the clock to win the road matchup, 77-76, against Central Arkansas.
The victory over the Bears helped the Lumberjack bounce back from a 73-72 loss at home one week prior against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The loss was the first at home this year in nine games.
SFA has won seven of their last eight games on the season and currently sit atop the Southland standings, one-half game ahead of Sam Houston State (12-6, 5-2 SLC) and Nicholls (11-7, 5-2 SLC).
Incarnate Word is struggling this season, sitting in a tie with Houston Baptist (1-13, 1-4 SLC) for last place in the Southland standings.
The Cardinals have yet to win a road game in 2019-20, sitting at 0-8 away from home. They have dropped five of their last six contests overall.
Stephen F. Austin and Incarnate Word have met eight times in the history of the men’s basketball programs, with the Lumberjacks holding a 7-1 record in those games. SFA has never lost at home against UIW, with their latest being an 81-54 victory last February.
The Lumberjacks only loss to the Cardinals came in the 2017 season, falling 87-79 in San Antionio. Since that time the Lumberjacks have run off five consecutive wins in the series.