Southern's defense carries it to NCAA tournament

Mar 14, 2010 - 3:02 AM BOSSIER CITY, La.(AP) -- Southern wasn't going to settle for another trip to the WNIT.

Ashley Augerson scored 19 points, Hannah Kador added 15, and Southern held Alabama State scoreless for 13 minutes in a 60-47 victory on Saturday night in the Southwest Athletic Conference championship.

"We are the champs, Bear (Hannah Kador) is the MVP and we're taking this trophy back to Baton Rouge," Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. "Last year we sat here and said we would back. The difference this year is that we won."

The top-seeded Jaguars (23-8) won their sixth conference title and will make their fourth NCAA tournament appearance under coach Pugh.

"I don't have a lot of emotion right now, but I am blessed," Kador said. "Last year we didn't have the bodies to compete with Prairie View, but this year we did."

The seventh-seeded Lady Hornets (13-17), who upset the No. 2 and 3 seeds to get to just their third SWAC title game, lost their offensive rhythm near the end of the first half as the Jaguars' defense took over.

Tanika Jackson scored 22 points to lead the Lady Hornets.

"Southern presents a lot of problems for us because they play four guards and our strength is in our bigs," Alabama State coach Freda Freeman-Jackson said.

Tanika Jackson was the only Lady Hornet to purge double digits with 22 points.

"Tanika is a great player and is going to have a big career. We have to face her another year," Pugh said.

The Jaguars used a 15-0 run over the last seven minutes of the first half to move from a tie to a 34-19 advantage at the break. Although the Lady Hornets had a couple of free throw opportunities, ASU scored just one field goal in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

By that time the Jaguars had a 47-26 lead and control of the game.

When Alabama State's Jamie Chambers made a 3-pointer with just over seven minutes remaining in the half, it would be her team's last basket until the 14-minute mark of the second half. The 13-minute drought eliminated the Lady Hornets from an NCAA tournament bid.

A basket by Erica Henderson ended the drought, but by then they trailed 39-25.

Alabama State shot just 27 percent for the game and committed four more turnovers than Southern. But the Lady Hornets did trim Southern's 21-point second half lead to just 54-43 with three minutes remaining. But that's as close as they could get.

Jackson tried to personally bring her team back over the last five minutes. The junior scored her team's last 10 points either from the free throw line or on jumpers in the lane.

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