Southeastern off to 3-0 Southland start with 76-58 road win at Nicholls

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THIBODAUX, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana University women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 in Southland Conference play for the first time in program history with a 76-58 victory over Nicholls Saturday afternoon in Stopher Gymnasium.

Career nights by freshman Taylor Bell (20 points) and Morgan Davis (18 points) off the bench helped Southeastern (7-6, 3-0 Southland) to the win and its best-ever start to conference play since joining the 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 lone Southeastern starter in double figures with 10 points, as the Brusly, Louisiana native reached 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,” Southeastern head coach Ayla Guzzardo said. “Every time out different people step up and it was great to see both Taylor and Morgan come out of their shell today. Their teammates know what they’re 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 string last spring and have topped that in 2021-22.

“We came into the season with the mindset that this team had the ability to make some history,” Guzzardo said. “We have the talent in place to be a championship team and a great coaching staff that’s locked in and putting out players in the position to be successful. Beyond their play on the court, our players are bought into our culture. We’re happy with the 3-0 start, but our goals are still in front of us.”

Bell, Davis and Williams helped SLU continue its dominance in the post, as Southeastern finished with a 50-16 advantage in points in the paint. The Lady Lions have outscored their first three league foes, 162-50, in the paint.

Southeastern forced the Colonels into 20 turnovers, though Nicholls (3-11, 1-2 Southland) finished with four players in double figures. 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 edge after the opening quarter, but Southeastern bounced back in the second quarter. The Lady Lions held the Colonels scoreless for the final 5:33 of the second quarter to take a 32-25 lead into the halftime break.

Southeastern stretched the lead to 12 after three quarters, as the game Nicholls squad headed into the final period within striking distance and trailing, 51-39. Bell scored six straight points, then Chrissy Brown and Daija Harvey buried consecutive threes to fuel a 14-4 run that gave SLU a 67-45 advantage with 4:33 remaining. Nicholls would get no closer than 18 the rest of the way, as the Lady Lions secured their first triumph in Thibodaux since the 2017-18 season.

Southeastern will be back in action on Thursday, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 5:30 p.m. contest in the University Center. Thursday’s contest will feature the last two undefeated teams in Southland Conference play, as the visiting Islanders (11-6, 3-0 Southland) defeated HBU, 57-44, on Saturday to stay tied atop the league ledger with the Lady Lions.

Thursday’s contest will be televised on ESPN+ and can be heard online at www.LionSports.net/ListenLive. Natalie Kelly and Cierria Cunningham will be the Spotlight Players of the Game for the contest versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The first 150 fans will receive trading cards featuring the SLU juniors, courtesy of PRIDE.

Southeastern 76 (7-6, 3-0 SLC)
Carrier 2-4 0-0 5, Williams 4-5 2-4 10, Cunningham 0-4 0-0 0, Horne 0-2 0-0 0, Giaratano 2-5 0-0 4, Brown 2-6 0-0 5, Ducksworth 4-11 2-3 10, Harvey 1-4 0-0 3, Kelly 0-3 1-2 1, Bell 9-13 2-5 20, Davis 6-8 6-8 18. Totals 30-65 13-22 76.

Nicholls 58 (3-11, 1-2 SLC)
Brister 0-3 0-0 0, Cain 3-10 6-6 12, Washington 6-7 4-4 16, Sandie 1-3 1-2 3, Allen 3-9 3-4 10, Green 4-6 0-0 11, Bowie 0-0 1-2 1, Womack 1-4 0-0 3, Manley 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-43 15-18 58.
End of 1st Quarter – NICH 15, SLU 14. Halftime – SLU 32, NICH 25. End of 3rd Quarter – SLU 51, NICH 39. 3-point goals – SLU 3-11 (Harvey 1-4, Brown 1-3, Carrier 1-2, Bell 0-1, Horne 0-1), NICH 5-17 (Green 3-5, Womack 1-4, Allen 1-3, Cain 0-3, Brister 0-1, Sandie 0-1). Technical Fouls – None. Fouled Out – None. Rebounds – SLU 39 (Ducksworth 6), NICH 25 (Cain 9). Assists – SLU 18 (Ducksworth 6), NICH 10 (Allen 5). Total Fouls – SLU 16, NICH 19. A – 321.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Southeastern Women’s Basketball, follow @LionUpWBB on Twitter, like /SoutheasternWBB on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.

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