Women’s Basketball: Southeastern rallies past ACU for fourth straight win

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HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana women’s basketball team erased a 14-point deficit on the way to a 51-46 victory over Abilene Christian in Southland Conference women’s basketball action Monday night in the University Center.

The win in the home finale for SLU (8-6, 7-4 Southland) extended the Lady Lions’ win streak to four games. It also marked Southeastern’s first win over Abilene Christian (12-6, 5-4 Southland) in its last five tries.

“One thing I’ve never questioned about this team is its toughness and tonight it showed,” Southeastern head coach Ayla Guzzardo said. “We won tonight because of our defense, holding a very good ACU team to well under its average.”

In just her third game back from injury, Caitlyn Williams led the way for Southeastern, posting a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Hailey Giaratano added 15 points for SLU, as she, Cierria Cunningham and Chrissy Brown each dished out three assists. Brown and Cunningham also led the Lady Lions with two steals each.

“Caitlyn had a phenomenal game for us tonight,” Guzzardo commented. “Hailey hit some big shots for us as well and Chrissy gave us great energy off the bench. Our two point guards (Cunningham and Breonca Ducksworth) ran the offense very well for us down the stretch.”

Abilene Christian looked poised to break the game open in the third quarter. A three by Kamryn Mraz gave the Wildcats a 38-24 advantage with 4:11 left in the period.

However, SLU just wouldn’t go away. The Lady Lions answered with a 15-0 run to take its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. SLU held the high-powered Wildcats, who came in averaging 74.9 points per game, scoreless for over eight minutes during the run.

ACU retook the lead, 43-41, on a trey by Mraz with 5:11 left. Giartano hit a tough bank shot in the lane, then Williams scored back-to-back buckets to give SLU a 47-43 cushion with 2:32 left.

Both offenses came up empty on the next several possessions before Mraz, who scored 13 points for ACU, netted a free throw and Anna McLeod, who led the Wildcats with 14 points, scored a driving layup to cut the Southeastern lead to 47-46 with 36 seconds left.

Ducksworth was fouled and made one-of-two free throws to extend the lead to two. On the ensuing possession, Mraz missed a three and Williams grabbed the rebound for the Lady Lions. She was fouled and made one of two of her free throw attempts to extend the lead to 49-46 with 17.2 seconds left.

Mraz’s tying attempt from three missed in the final seconds and Giaratano iced the game with a pair of free throws to give SLU a win in the final meeting of the two schools as conference rivals.

Up Next
Southeastern will return to the road for the first time since Jan. 16 on Wednesday, traveling to McNeese for a 6:30 p.m. contest in Lake Charles. The SLU-McNeese contest can be heard live in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9), online at www.LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Game Day Experience and TuneIn Radio apps.

Abilene Christian 46 (12-6, 5-4 SLC)
Stevenson 0-2 0-0 0, Adams 2-4 4-4 8, Mraz 4-12 2-3 13, Emborsky 1-6 0-0 3, McLeod 5-11 0-0 14, Griswold 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 2-4 1-2 6, Morgan 0-2 0-0 0, Horyna 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 15-44 7-9 46.
Southeastern Louisiana 51 (8-6, 7-4 SLC)
Carrier 1-8 0-0 3, Williams 9-13 1-3 19, Kelly 0-5 0-0 0, Ducksworth 0-0 3-4 3, Giartatano 5-11 4-4 15, Cunningham 2-6 0-0 4, Brown 2-6 0-0 4, Harvey 1-6 0-0 3, Bradford 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 20-55 6-10 51
End of 1st Quarter – ACU 16, SLU 13. Halftime – ACU 29, SLU 20. End of 3rd Quarter – ACU 38, SLU 32. 3-point goals – ACU 9-31 (McLeod 4-8, Mraz 3-10, Emborsky 1-6, Miller 1-3, Horyna 0-2, Stevenson 0-1, Morgan 0-1), SLU 3-20 (Giaratano 1-6, Harvey 1-6, Carrier 1-4, Brown 0-3, Cunningham 0-1). Technical Fouls – None. Fouled Out – None. Rebounds – ACU 34 (Adams 10), SLU 35 (Williams 13). Assists – ACU 10 (McLeod, Miller 3), SLU 13 (Three with 3). Total Fouls – ACU 14, SLU 11. A – 294.

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