Ladyjacks Tabbed Favorite In SLC Polls
Oct. 30, 2013
FRISCO, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack basketball team was named the preseason favorite to win the Southland Conference in both the coaches' and sports information directors' poll, announced league officials Wednesday morning.
The Ladyjacks enter the 2013-14 season as the consensus selection to win their 16th league crown in program history and first since the 2007 season.
SFA is coming off a 2012-13 season in which they recorded a 14-17 campaign and extended their streak of Southland Conference Tournament appearances to 26 consecutive seasons and third under head coach Brandon Schneider.
Schneider is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Ladyjacks and has compiled a 49-45 record in his three seasons.
SFA returns all five starters from a season ago, with two additional players with starting experience. The Ladyjacks return nine letterwinners in all and welcome five newcomers from both the high school and junior college ranks.
Porsha Roberts, a second team all-SLC selection as a sophomore, was one of two SFA players to land on the preseason all-conference list for the 2013-14 season. Roberts was an automatic selection to the first team, after earning league honors last season, while Antionette Carter was named to the second team.
Roberts started all 31 games and averaged 14.6 points per game one year removed from being named the SLC's Freshman of the Year. The Waco, Texas, native, led the team in scoring (449), field goal percentage (.573), rebounds (231), blocks (47) and second in minutes played (881). In all, Roberts recorded nine double-doubles and 25 double-digit scoring performances.
Carter appeared in all 31 games, making 14 starts, in her first season with the Ladyjacks. After coming to SFA from Murray State College, Carter recorded eight double-figure scoring performances, while playing in 577 minutes as a junior.
SFA also returns Kali Jerrell (Senior, Guard), Daylyn Harris (Junior, Forward), Tierany Henderson (Junior, Forward), Brittney Matthew (Junior, Guard), LaNesha Middleton (Sophomore, Forward), Paulletta Powell (Sophomore, Guard) and Victoria Pena (Sophomore, Guard).
The class of five signees includes guard/forward Alexis Fatheree (Foster HS), guards Brentney Branch (Clear Creek HS) and Taylor Ross (Pflugerville), and centers Destiny Bragman (Trinidad State JC) and Adrienne Lewis (DeSoto HS).
Fatheree, a 5'9" guard/forward, averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals per game as a junior at Foster High School. Fatheree was a 23-4A MVP, first-team all-district, Fort Bend Area MVP, TABC All-Region and Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State. She was ranked the 17th-best player overall in Texas according to Premier Basketball Report.
Branch, a 5'6" point guard, averaged 20 points, five assists and three steals per game as a junior at Clear Creek High School. Branch was first-team all-district, all-region, Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-State and the 24-5A Offensive Player of the Year. Dan Olson's, The Collegiate Basketball Report", rankED Branch #129 overall in the nation and the 26th-best point guard in the country.
Branch comes from a proven athletic bloodline. Her grandfather is former Oakland Raiders three-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Cliff Branch. Her father, Brent, played at Colorado University and also ran track and field.
Ross, a 5'6" point guard, comes from a winning culture at Pflugerville where she helped guide the Panthers to a combined 77-2 record over the past two seasons. Ross averaged 8.5 points per game last year while also dishing out 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
In 2013, Ross collected a plethora of accolades, which included being named the District 16-5A MVP. She also earned first-team all-region honors and was a TABC and TGCA 5A All-State selection. Ross ended her senior year by being named to the UIL All-State Tournament Team.
Bragman, a 6'2" center, spent her freshman year last season at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado. Bragman finished second in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) and also averaged 12.3 points and 8.0 rebounds.
Lewis, a 6'1" center, averaged six points and five rebounds as a junior at Desoto High School. Lewis will also participate as a thrower for the SFA track and field team.
The Ladyjacks open their 2013-14 slate at LSU on Friday, Nov. 8, with the first round of the Preseason WNIT.
2013-14 Women's Basketball Preseason Polls
Sports Information Directors' Poll
(Abilene Christian and UIW were not eligible in preseason polls, as they will not play a full slate of league games in their first year of transition into Division I. Additionally, neither team is eligible for postseason play until 2017-18.)