Lady Lions make history, look to put on their dancing shoes


Samantha Sims

Senior Southeastern forward Natalie Kelly duels with McNeese big Alicja Falkowska for opening tip in Senior night bout at the University Center. (Feb. 25, 2023)

Southeastern women’s basketball accomplished something it had never done before since joining the Southland in 1997: win the regular season conference title. 

In her sixth season at the helm, St. Thomas Aquinas alumna and Hammond native Ayla Guzzardo led Southeastern to its first-ever SLC championship. 

This wasn’t something that came out of the blue, as Guzzardo has laid a strong foundation for her program since being promoted from top assistant to head coach following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. 

The team’s record has improved each season since Guzzardo’s been in control of the reigns and 2022-23 is the culmination with the Lady Lions bringing home the regular season title.

However, Southeastern is in search of more in the form of an NCAA Tournament appearance, something the program has never accomplished. 

In order to make the Big Dance, SLU will need to continue its smothering defensive play. 

The Lady Lions rank first in the Southland in scoring defense, surrendering just 54.3 points per contest, and are fresh off holding HCU to 45 points in their own gym.

In the regular season title-clinching win over the Huskies last Wednesday, the Green and Gold held their opponents to a mere 29.6% from the field while scoring 18 points off of 19 forced turnovers. 

On the offensive end of the court, freshman sensation Jen Pierre enjoyed her most efficient game of the season, shooting 7/9 to the tune of 17 points as well as grabbing six rebounds and swiping three steals. 

The freshman sensation was joined by fellow guards: junior Alexius Horne and senior Cierria Cunningham who added 13 and 10 respectively. 

Southeastern will need to bring the energy on both ends of the court in a semifinal matchup with Texas A&M-Commerce today if they wish to reach the tournament championship game. 

The fifth-seeded Lions come into this one at 14-18 (10-8 SLC) having won their last two contest on Monday and Tuesday over eighth-seed Northwestern State, 79-66, and fourth-seed UIW, 65-62. 

SLU defeated TAMUC in both meetings during the regular season by scores of 46-42 in Hammond (Jan. 21) and 66-55 in Commerce (Feb. 18). 

Tip-off between these two schools of felines will be coming shortly at 11 a.m. in Lake Charles on ESPN+. 

Stay tuned to Women’s Basketball – Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics ( for the game result as well as Game 5: Southeastern vs. A&M-Commerce ( to follow live stats.