HAMMOND, La. – Celica Sterling led all players with 22 points as Southeastern Louisiana overcame a sluggish start to hold off Jackson State, 63-59, in nonconference action Saturday afternoon at the University Center.
Southeastern (3-4) enters exam week riding a three-game winning streak, defeating the Lady Tigers (1-6) for the second time in as many seasons.
After Sterling got the scoring going with a jumper just 54 seconds into the contest, Jackson State swung the momentum in the opposite direction. After sinking 3-of-4 free throws and nailing a 3-pointer, the Lady Tigers went up by a game-high six points, 8-2, on a basket by Dayzsha Rogan.
The Lady Lions pulled within one on one of Sterling’s game-high four 3-pointers, but Jackson State once again extended its lead to six, 14-8, with 3:42 remaining in the opening quarter. Southeastern bounced back, ending the quarter on a 9-2 run to regain the lead.
Over the course of the next 5:33, the lead changed hands six times before a 3-pointer by Hailey Giaratano, a freshman from nearby Ponchatoula, Louisiana, gave the Lady Lions a four-point advantage, 26-22. Southeastern expanded its lead to a game-high 12 points, 34-22, with 1:14 remaining until the half on another 3-pointer from Sterling.
A 3-pointer by Jackson State’s D’Asia Mitchell snapped the Lady Lions 13-0 run and cut their lead to nine entering halftime.
Sterling pushed Southeastern’s lead back to double digits, 38-27, with 8:43 to play in the third quarter, but the Lady Tigers started to chip away at the deficit. A 12-2 run by Jackson State over the next five minutes pulled them back within one, 40-39.
Both teams traded baskets over the remaining 3:30 of the third and Southeastern entered the fourth quarter clinging to a 45-43 lead.
A balanced attack down the stretch helped the Lady Lions fend off a couple of charges by Jackson State, as Morgan Carrier, Charliee Dugas, Jayar Francis, Tyler Morrison and Sterling all scored for Southeastern in the final stanza.
Sterling topped 20 for the second time in as many games and reached the plateau for the eighth time in her career. Carrier added 10 points and Dugas chipped in nine for the Lady Lions who were 22-of-61 from the floor (36.1 percent) in the game. Francis grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds to go with her seven points.
Southeastern will take time off for fall semester final exams before traveling to Louisiana Tech for a 6:30 p.m. nonconference contest Friday in Ruston, Louisiana. The SLU-LaTech contest will be broadcast live in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via both the TuneIn Radio and Lions Game Day Experience apps.
GREEN & GOLD CLUB / S CLUB
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