Stephanie Visscher’s 19 points and six assists helped the Ladyjacks breeze past the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears, 79-43, Wednesday night in William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Before the tip-off, Chanell Hayes was honored in front of the Ladyjack faithful for becoming the latest Ladyjack to reach 1,000 points.
The game was the Pink Out Night that served to celebrate those who have beaten breast cancer, and show support to those fighting cancer. To celebrate the moment, all SFA starters were accompanied by an honorary starter who survived cancer. Additionally, sitting on the bench was honorary coach KK Nelson, a fourth grader who is currently fighting cancer. At halftime, the fans recognized 13 cancer survivors as well as those in the stands.
The Ladyjacks led the entire game, amassing the largest lead of 36 points to close the game. This was in large part to three players who scored in double-digits. Following Visscher’s 19 points was Imani Johnson with 16 points, and Alyssa Mayfield with 12 points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
The Jacks moved the ball, accumulating 21 assists in the game. Following Visscher’s 6 points was Aaliyah Johnson who came off the bench and had five assists. Imani Johnson followed closely with four assists.
“We wanted to move the ball and find ways to score against this team. We struggled in the past to score against Sandra [Rushing] teams, because they’re so good defensively” said SFA Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Mark Kellogg. “It’s nice to find a little bit of rhythm and make some shots, make some buckets inside.”
The Ladyjacks implemented a stout defense, forcing the Sugar Bears into 24 turnovers. Thirteen turnovers were forced in the second half.
“We set the goal to be active and get deflections,” Kellogg said. “We were in our press quite a bit and we were in the zone, we put some length out there. Proud of the defensive effort tonight, and now it’s three games in a row, I think, that we’ve held teams in the 40’s.”
Visscher wasn’t the only freshman to be announced in the starting lineup tonight, as Brianna Mitchell earned her second straight start this season due to Marissa Banfield’s knee injury.
“They needed to step up in Marissa’s absence, and as other’s have done with Riley [Harvey], I mean, we’ve just had that year,” Kellogg said. “That’s what you do, you put the next man up, and hope you’ve prepared them for the opportunity when it arises.”
SFA will battle Lamar Cardinals for first-place in the Southland Conference standings at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Montagne Center in Beaumont.