Lady Lions close regular season with win

The Lady Lions (14-15, 7-9) entered Saturday’s season finale with a SLC Tourney bid on the line, and sophomore forward Aja Gibson delivered, knocking down two free throws in the last 14 seconds of the game to secure a 73-72 victory over Nicholls State (12-17, 7-9).

The tournament berth marks the fourth consecutive season the Lady Lions have earned a spot in the SLC Tournament in Katy, Tx. Southeastern will begin action today at noon versus the No. 2 seed McNeese State in the first round.

Seniors Latoria Holder, Kelli Jenkins, Amber Crenshaw and Jessica Sommers celebrated senior day as they graced the court of the University Center for the last time of their careers as Lady Lions.

The Lady Lions played a lackluster first half Saturday shooting 33 percent from the field while the Lady Colonels shot nearly 60 percent, building a lead over the Lady Lions. By the end of the first half, the Lady Lions found themselves in a 10-point hole going into the half down 46-36.

“The credit goes to this group of Lady Lions for never giving up,” said head coach Lori Davis Jones in a press release. “We didn’t change much at halftime. It was up to our players – especially the seniors – to decide it was time to play up to their capabilities. I’m very proud of our effort throughout this season and we’re excited to be back in the Southland Conference Tournament.”

In the second half, the Lady Lions tightened up on the defensive end and from behind the arc as they held the Lady Colonels to 32 percent from the field and managed to shoot 57 percent from 3-point range.

Sommers took full advantage of her last game in the University Center, scoring a career high 21 points, going 7-13 from behind the arc.

“My team and I just came out and played and had fun,” said Sommers. “When we got down we worked more as a team as opposed to one-on-one so I was proud about that.”

Southeastern continuously chopped away at the lead and went ahead for the first time in the game at the 9:16 mark when junior forward Brandi Simmons converted a layup putting her squad up 63-62.

With the help of fellow senior Jenkins contributing eight points and eight assists of her own and Gibson’s clutch free throws, the Lady Lions rallied to victory.

Both Jenkins and Gibson were named to the All-Southland teams on Monday for their stellar play throughout the season.

 “Kelli and Aja are both very deserving of All-Southland Conference recognition,” said Jones. “The players and coaches in our program know how big a part they play in our success, so it’s pleasing to see our conference peers recognize their accomplishments.”

Pending a win in today’s SLC Tourney game, the Lady Lions will go on to face the winner of No. 6 Texas State and No. 3 Sam Houston State on Thursday at 12:05 in the quarterfinals.