SHERMAN, TX – For the second time in the past three seasons, the Austin College women's basketball team has a share of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season championship. The 'Roos rolled past Centenary 68-42 to finish the regular season 20-5 overall and 13-1 in SCAC play.
Bryce Frank scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Ally Longaker and Kacie West each chipped in 15 points as the 'Roos used a strong defensive effort to overcome their cold shooting on the night. Austin College shot just 34.8% from the field and hit 4-of-20 threes, but the 'Roos forced 18 turnovers and limited Centenary to 22% shooting to come away with the win.
The 'Roos jumped out to an 8-0 lead less than three minutes in, and two free throws from Frank gave Austin College its first double-digit lead of the game at 13-2 with 5:49 left in the opening quarter. A three from West made it 17-6, and after Centenary pulled to within six at 17-11, a bucket by Caitlyn Collins made it 20-11 after the first.
Frank scored four in a row to give the 'Roos a 25-13 lead early in the second, and a triple from Ann Savageextended the lead to 28-15 with 5:29 left in the half. Frank's basket with five seconds left sent Austin Collegeinto the break with a 36-24 cushion.
Ally Longaker scored seven in a row early in the third quarter as Austin College opened up its first 20-point lead of the game, and a three from Reagan Chiaverini made the margin 48-24 with 3:32 as Austin Collegescored the first 14 points of the second half. Centenary finally got on the board with 3:15 left in the quarter, but West's three pointer made it 55-31 heading into the fourth.
The 'Roos cruised from there, pushing the lead to as many as 34 points at 68-34 with just under three minutes to play, before the Ladies scored the final eight points of the game to make it a 68-42 final.
Frank added three steals to her 20 points and 11 boards, and Longaker hit 7-of-10 shots to get to 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Savage finished with eight points and dished out six assists, and ends the regular season as the SCAC leader in assists-per-game. Meghan Lewis came away with five steals to secure the top spot in the conference in steals-per-game as well. Addison Walling dished out a game-high seven assists in the win.
Jasmine Morris and Darelzray Bellard each scored 10 to pace Centenary, and Deunya Small grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for Centenary. Austin College out-rebounded the Ladies 56-45 in the game.
With the win, Austin College reaches the 20-victory plateau for the first time since the 1998-99 season, and their 13 conference wins are the most in program history since joining the SCAC in 2006-07. The 'Roos end the year tied atop the standings with Trinity, with the No. 1-seed in the conference tournament to be determined via coin flip due to all other tiebreakers being even between the two teams.
Austin College will receive a first round bye in the SCAC Tournament, which begins next Friday in Colorado Springs. Austin College will open up play in the semifinals on Saturday, with time and opponent to be determined.