The Sam Houston women have won three straight games including the past two since head coach Ravon Justice returned. Courtesy Alyssa Schulte/SHSU Athletics.

Jacks are Wild, Justice Return a Success in the Women’s Recap

Let’s be clear – the Jacks are Wild. Okay, so Stephen F. Austin sits atop the women’s standings after sweeping the weekend. The Jacks knocked off defending champion CBU and then headed to the desert and knocked off GCU. Not a bad weekend for the Jacks. Sam Houston continued its wild weekend after head coach Ravon Justice returned.

With all that being said, here is the weekend recap including the makeup games on Monday.

Stephen F. Austin 79, CBU 62

In Nacogdoches, every time defending champion CBU made a run at Stephen F. Austin, the Lady Jacks had an answer resulting in a 17-point home win for the 7th-ranked team in last week’s mid-major poll.

Zya Nugent had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the Jacks. Aiyana Johnson added 22 points and 11 rebounds while Stephanie Visscher contributed another 16 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists in a big win at home.

CBU trailed for much of the game, whittling a double digit deficit to two possessions on a couple of occasions but could get no closer. The Lancers got 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals from Sydney Palma in defeat. Caitlyn Harper added 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals and Georgia Dale added 11 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists for CBU.

The Ladyjacks will finish three games in six days with a Monday night trip to Phoenix and Grand Canyon, making up a postponed game from 1/20/22.

Grand Canyon 61, New Mexico State 59

For a third time this Western Athletic Conference season the GCU women’s basketball team clawed out victory with less than ten seconds left on the clock (and had a second buzzer beater) Saturday afternoon.

Victim #3 was New Mexico State who fell off a mid range jumper from Amara Graham (https://twitter.com/GCU_WBB/status/1487559800426614785?s=20&t=4DkT7ERMhhJRS12DDKOufA) which kept the Lopes a game behind undefeated Stephen F. Austin heading into their Monday matchup.

That’s losses in four out of their last five games for the Aggies by a combined margin of ten points while the Lopes have won five straight by a combined 37 points.

Jay McChristine did most of the damage with 19 points (9-13 FG’s), 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Graham added 13 points (5-10 FG’s) with 2 rebound, 2 assists, and 2 steals for the Lopes.

New Mexico State got 14 points (4-7 3’s), 2 rebounds, and 2 steals from Melanie Isbell to go with 12 points (5-9 FG’s) & 4 steals from Taylor Donaldson.

Sam Houston 73, Seattle 54

In Huntsville, Ravon Justice’s first weekend back on the sidelines is a sweep which makes the Bearkats winners of three straight. Again it was a struggle for Seattle offensively as the Redhawks were held to just 32.1% total field goals and one lone three pointer in their fourth straight loss.

Faith Cook followed her career day with another 16 points on 4-7 3’s with 4 assists. Damaya Telemaque added 15 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals while Leandra Echi chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists with 2 steals.

Bree Calhoun led all scorers with 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in a loss for the Redhawks.

UTRGV 64, Tarleton 58

Sara Bershers did most of the heavy lifting as UTRGV earned a split of the weekend in Stephenville with 20 points (7-12 FG’s, 2-3 3’s) and 6 rebounds. Taylor Muff added 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals while Kacee Kyle chipped in with 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Nya Mitchels had 13 points & 4 rebounds to lead the Texans while Jenna Dick added 11 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds. Malaya Kendrick also contributed with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Abilene Christian 66, Lamar 54

After a tough West Coast road trip last weekend the Wildcats returned home and earned a key weekend sweep. This one was in doubt until the end however as it took a 20-11 ACU fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Jamie Bonnarens and Sarah Griswold each led the Wildcats with 17 points. Bonnarens was 3-5 from three point range with 5 assists and 2 rebounds while Griswold added 4 rebounds to her 8-10 FG day. Madi Miller added 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals for ACU.

For Lamar…Sabria Dean led the way with 18 points (8-18 FG’s), 6 rebounds, and 2 assists while Angel Hastings added 10 points and 2 rebounds.

Dixie State 82, Chicago State 70

In their first year of WAC play the Trailblazers earned a third win with four players in double figure scoring. Shanaijah Davidson led the way with 24 points (3-7 3’s) & 10 rebounds. Breaunna Gillen added 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals while Emily Issacson chipped in 13 points & 12 rebounds. Talia Sireni came off the bench and scored 14 points with 4 assists and 2 rebounds.

Aalyiah Collins led Chicago State with 22 points & 3 rebounds off the bench while Kyjai Miles added 14 points & 7 rebounds.

Breaunna Gillen and Dixie State earned a home win over Chicago State on Saturday. Courtesy Breanna Biorato/Visually Breanna.

Monday, January 31>>

New Mexico State 63, UTRGV 51

The Aggies earned a big win on Monday afternoon behind Tayelin Grays who led New Mexico State with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Sofia Inoussa & Molly Kaiser combined to score 20 points and added 6 rebounds in the home win.

Sara Bershers did everything she could to keep the Vaqueros close with 14 points (4-9 3’s) and 6 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as UTRGV fell in Las Cruces. Taylor Muff was held to 4 points and 4 rebounds.

Stephen F. Austin 61, Grand Canyon 43

For 25:17, Grand Canyon had the Lady Jacks stymied offensively. My how things changed after the half as the Jacks outscored the Lopes 36-13 and prevailed 61-43, taking control of the race to #1 in Vegas.

The Lopes were up 30-25 at intermission…shooting 12-35 (34.3%) from the field & 2-9 (22.2%) on 3s, holding a +5 margin in rebounding, and the -2 edge in turnovers.

However, the Jacks outscored GCU, 16-2, in the third quarter to take control and was never seriously threatened once they took back the lead. The Lady Jacks held GCU to 8.3% field goal shooting (2-23) with 11 turnovers while shooting 8-19 (42.1%) themselves.

Brianna Mitchell had 14 points and was 3-5 from three to lead the charge offensively with 5 rebounds. She also added a pair of steals to the ledger. Zya Nugent struggled from the floor to the tune of a 3-14 FG evening but still came through with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Aiyana Johnson chipped in 11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks while reigning Player of the Week Stephanie Visscher added 10 points, 15 rebounds and 3 steals.

Jay McChristine had 12 points & 5 rebounds to lead the Lopes while Amara Graham added 11 points and 3 rebounds.




About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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