THIBODAUX, Louisiana – Southeastern Louisiana University women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 in the Southland conference for the first time in program history with a 76-58 victory over Nicholls on Saturday afternoon at Stopher Gymnasium.
Career nights by freshman Taylor Bell (20 marks) and Morgan Davis (18 points) off the bench helped Southeastern (7-6, 3-0 Southland) to the win and its best conference start since joining Southland prior to the 1997-98 season.
Breonca Ducksworth also came off the bench with 10 points, while also leading SLU with six rebounds, six assists and four steals, as the Lady Lions finished with a 57-17 advantage in bench points. Caitlyn Williams was the only double-digit Southeast starter with 10 points, as the Brusly, Louisiana native hit double digits in the scoring column for the third time in as many conference contests.
“When we built this team, we felt like every player could have an impact,” the Southeastern head coach said. Ayla Guzzardo noted. “Every time different people step in and it was great to see Taylor and Morgan come out of their shells today. Their teammates know what they are capable of and today was their day to shine.”
Prior to the 2020-21 season, Southeastern had never started Southland Conference play with a 2-0 record. The Lady Lions broke that chain last spring and surpassed it in 2021-22.
“We started the season with the idea that this team had the ability to make history,” said Guzzardo. “We have the talent in place to be a championship team and a great coaching staff who are locked in and put the players in a position to succeed. Beyond their play on the pitch, our players are embedded in our culture. We are happy with the 3-0 start, but our goals are still ahead of us.”
Bell, Davis and Williams helped SLU maintain their dominance in the position, as Southeastern finished with a 50-16 point advantage in the paint. The Lady Lions beat their first three league opponents, 162-50, in the paint.
Southeastern forced the Colonels to 20 turnovers, though Nicholls (3-11, 1-2 Southland) finished with four double-digit players. Bryanna Washington led the hosts with 16 points, followed by Chelsea Cain (12 points), Kyrstin Green (11 points) and Chyna Allen (10 points).
Nicholls held a 15-14 advantage after the first quarter, but Southeastern rebounded in the second quarter. The Lady Lions held the Colonels scoreless through the final 5:33 of the second quarter to take a 32-25 halftime lead.
Southeastern extended the lead to 12 after three quarters, as Nicholls’ team headed into the final period within striking distance and trailing, 51-39. Bell scored six consecutive points, then Chrissy Brown and Daija Harvey buried three straight to power a 14-4 run that gave SLU a 67-45 advantage with 4:33 remaining. Nicholls would not come closer to 18 the rest of the way, as the Lady Lions secured their first triumph at Thibodaux since the 2017-18 season.
Southeastern will be back in action Thursday, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 5:30 p.m. contest at the University Center. Thursday’s game will feature the last two unbeaten teams in the Southland Conference, as the visiting Islanders (11-6, 3-0 Southland) beat HBU, 57-44, on Saturday to stay tied at the top of the league standings with the Lady Lions.
Thursday’s contest will be televised on ESPN+ and can be listened to online at www.LionSports.net/ListenLive. Nathalie Kelly and Cierria Cunningham will be the featured players in the game for the contest against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The first 150 fans will receive trading cards featuring SLU juniors, courtesy of PRIDE.
For more Southeastern women’s basketball news, follow @LionUpWBB on Twitter, like /SoutheasternWBB on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
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