Ladyjacks Look to Push Win Streak to Five Against Pilots

Stephen F. Austin vs. University of Portland

Date: Thursday, December 7th

Time: 6:30 p.m. CT

Live Stream: ESPN+

Stadium: William R. Johnson Coliseum

Series: Portland leads 1-0

NACOGDOCHES, Texas. – The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks Basketball Team (5-2, 2-0) looks to keep the good times rolling as they conclude a two-game homestand against the Portland Pilots (5-4, 0-0) on Thursday night. 

Ladyjacks at a Glance:

Stephen F. Austin will look to carry over their momentum from their home win over Abilene Christian into this match with Portland. The game against ACU offered no shortage of entertainment as it took double overtime for the Ladyjacks to down the Wildcats and improve their record to 5-2 on the season. The win over ACU marked the fourth straight win over SFA and their second straight game scoring at least 80 points. 

For the second straight week, an SFA Ladyjack has won the WAC Player of the Week Award as Kyla Deck was named WAC Player of the Week on Monday afternoon. It was well deserved recognition for Deck who helped lead strong performances by SFA’s offense against both Tarleton and ACU. Deck set a career-high in points with 24 against both Tarleton and ACU and made a career-high six three-pointers against Tarleton, while putting up a 24-point 11-rebound double-double performance against Abilene Christian. Kurstyn Harden has formed a lethal scoring duo for the Ladyjacks with Deck as she has scored double-digit points in all seven games this season for SFA, which includes a pair of 20+ point performances against Rice and Liberty. Avery VanSickle has started to heat up from downtown for the ‘Jacks as she has made at least three three-pointers in back-to-back games, while Destini Lombard continues to stuff the stat sheet nightly as she has recorded at least one point, one rebound, one block, and one steal in consecutive games for SFA. 

Against ACU, the Ladyjacks strong defense continues to provide plenty of opportunities for quick scores as they had 22 points off turnovers against ACU as well as 17 fast break points. SFA continues to get fantastic production down low in the paint as they had 42 points in the paint against the Wildcats, which marked their second highest total this season. 

As impressive as Kyla Deck’s offensive stats are, her defensive stats are equally impressive as she ranks tied for ninth in the nation in steals per game at an impressive 3.43 clip. Nationally, the Ladyjacks are currently tied for 19th in the nation in steals per game as a team as they average 12.1 steals per game. 

Pilots at a Glance:

The Portland University Pilots will come into the Sawmill also carrying plenty of confidence and will look to win their third straight game. In their most recent win, the Pilots rallied from a 16-point deficit to Montana State and claimed a come-from-behind home win over the Bobcats 73-64. While that win over Montana State was an impressive one for Portland, the win before that might be even more impressive. Portland played host to power five and Pac-12 opponent University of Oregon and dismantled the Ducks at home as they cruised to a 91-60 win. It marked the largest win over a Pac-12 opponent in Portland’s history, while marking their first win over Oregon since 2012. 

The Pilots lead a balanced offensive attack as they currently have four players who average double-digit points a game. However, Maisie Burnham and Emme Shearer are the kick starters for the Pilots as they both average 11.6 points/game for Portland. Lucy Cochrane is the enforcer on defense for Portland as she leads the team in rebounds with 68 and has swatted away 39 shots this season, while playing the most minutes of any Pilots player.

The Pilots defense continues to be a large part of their success this season as they currently rank 19th in the nation in turnovers forced per game at 22.56. Lucy Cochrane currently ranks first in the entire nation in Total Blocks with 39 and first in blocks per game at 4.33. 

Series: This will be only the second meeting between these schools as these two schools last squared off in 2021 when the Pilots hosted the Ladyjacks and defeated them 70-59 in Portland. 

By: Peter Trainor, Student Assistant for Strategic Communications