Central Arkansas earns second straight NCAA Tournament trip
KATY, Texas (AP) Maggie Proffitt had 21 points to lead top-seeded Central Arkansas to its second straight NCAA Tournament berth with a 60-35 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference championship on Sunday.
Proffitt shot 9 of 15 from the field as Central Arkansas shot 48 percent and outrebounded SFA 39-26. Taylor Baudoin added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Kierra Jordan had nine points and 13 rebounds for the Sugar Bears (26-4), who have won 17 straight games.
Stevi Parker had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Taylor Ross added eight points for SFA (25-7), which is still waiting for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006. The Ladyjacks struggled from the field, hitting 27 percent, including 2 of 13 from behind the arc.
Central Arkansas outscored SFA 15-4 in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-24 on a jumper by Olivia McWilliams late in the quarter. Brianna Mullins had six points in the run.
The Ladyjacks never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
Central Arkansas led 27-20 at the half behind 10 points from Proffitt.
The Sugar Bears used an 11-2 first-quarter run to take a 13-9 lead on a jumper by Baudoin with 2 minutes left. Central Arkansas maintained its advantage, growing it to seven on a layup by Baudoin to end the first half.
SFA: The Ladyjacks got off to a quick 7-2 lead but were never able to keep the momentum going. SFA shot 45 percent in the first quarter but hit 7 of 33 from the field over the final three quarters. The Ladyjacks hit 9 of 13 from the free throw line.
Central Arkansas: The Sugar Bears pressured SFA throughout, forcing 13 turnovers and converting them into 17 points. Central Arkansas was able to move the ball around getting 14 assists on 26 field goals and committed just six turnovers. The Sugar Bears will have to do better from the free throw line where they were 6 of 11.
SFA: Will wait for a postseason invite.
Central Arkansas: NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced Monday.