In their final home stand of the season the Lady Lions entered the Wednesday night match against the Conference leading McNeese State Cowgirls with hopes of keeping their SLC tournament hopes alive.
Seniors Rashima Jenkins, Rachel Mackie, Mary Fountain and Chelsea Hix were four of the ladies honored prior to the game for their hard work as Lady Lions playing in their final game in the University Center. In a tough effort the Lady Lions fell to the Cowgirls 68-61.
Full of emotion the Lady Lions got out to a quick start as senior guard Chelsea Hix opened the game with one of her four three-point field goals of the night. The Lady Lions continued to run as they led 8-0 at the 16:22 mark after a layup by senior center Rachel Mackie.
“We felt like all of our quicks were working. We got a good shot on just about everything we called,” said Lady Lions Head Coach Lori Davis Jones.
Out of a timeout, the Cowgirls came out firing and had closed the once eight-point lead to 12-11 midway through the first period; thanks to a three-pointer by guard Caitlyn Baggett, who led all scorers with 26 points on the night. With the first half of play coming to an end the Lady Lions increased their lead by as much six, but went into the locker room up 28-24 with another half remaining.
“We only had five turnovers in the first half and the turnovers down the stretch were crucial,” said Davis Jones.
As the second half got underway the Lady Lions fought to keep their lead but lost it at the 18:03 mark when a jumper by Caitlyn Baggett tied the score 28-28. With the Cowgirls consistent shots the Lady Lions had to do the same, and did just that as Kelli Jenkins, who led the Lady Lions with 19 points, hit a mid-range jumper giving the Lady Lions a 38-33 lead with 15:17 remaining. Continuing to score, the Cowgirls would tie the score twice more before Ashlyn Baggett drove in for a layup giving her squad a 47-45 lead with 9:25 left to play.
“I felt like we didn’t play with the urgency down the stretch. It’s almost like we played a little bit tight and afraid to not lose as opposed to going after it and getting the win,” said Davis Jones.
The Cowgirls went on to increase their lead to as much as eight but the Lady Lions refused to quit. Pressuring the ball from full court the Lady Lions forced a few misses from the Cowgirls and Mackie converted on a jumper slicing the once eight point deficit in half 59-55 with 02:25 on the game clock. The Cowgirls would go up by seven approaching a minute to play but after converting two clutch free throws Jenkins came up with a steal on the Cowgirls inbound and converted a layup to pull the Lady Lions within three 62-59 with 34 seconds left. Forced to foul the Lady Lions sent leading scorer Caitlyn Baggett to the line as she closed the game for the Cowgirls on their way to victory over the Lady Lions. Despite the loss, the Lady Lions managed to clinch a berth in the SLC Tournament in Katy, Texas, with a win on the road over Nicholls State Saturday evening. Entering the tournament as the eight seed the Lady Lions had to face SLC Champion McNeese for a second time in three days but the Lady Lions were unable to conquer the Cowgirls, losing out of the SLC Tournament in a 66-55 loss.