Mark Kellogg and the Ladyjacks went undefeated at the Clasíco Thanksgiving Tournament during Feast Week. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Ladyjacks Finish Puerto Rico Trip Undefeated, Host Gonzaga on Thursday

Over the Thanksgiving break, the Stephen F. Austin women’s basketball team logged approximately 2,000 miles to play two games in the Clasíco Thanksgiving Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A trip like that is good for not only team bonding but testing how your team will respond to playing in a different time zone. Especially if they earn the right to play in a postseason tournament in March.

Mark Kellog’s team passed the test with a 2-0 weekend. The Ladyjacks defeated Morgan State (MEAC) and Boston College (ACC) by a combined 38 points.

In a Thanksgiving afternoon 60-36 win over Morgan State the Ladyjacks led from wire to wire, outscoring the Bears 37-22 in the middle quarters to make it a comfortable victory.

Kurstyn Harden led the way with 16 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes of work. Also in double figure scoring was Aiyana Johnson who added 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in 25 minutes. They were a perfect 11-11 from the field in the opening round win.

After a day off, the Ladyjacks returned to the floor against Boston College of the ACC. SFA was looking for the WAC’s second win over a P5 team this week after Sam Houston State defeated TCU in Dallas on Wednesday.

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Ally Vantimmeren’s 3-pointer gave the Eagles a 34-33 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter. From there the Ladyjacks went on a 7-0 run over the next 80 seconds to grab a 40-34 lead on a 3-pointer from Angel Scott. Back-to-back Lacey Jojo jumpers pulled the Eagles even at 40 with 1:49 left. But Johnson made a pair of free throws with 38 seconds left to preserve the lead after 30 minutes.

With 8:37 left in the fourth, Maria Gakdeng’s layup gave BC a 45-44 lead. Kyla Deck hit back-to-back jumpers as the Ladyjacks retook the lead, 52-47, with 4:49 left and an Angel Scott layup stretched the gap to 54-47 with 4:47 left.

A steal and layup from Jordan Harrison pushed the Stephen F. Austin lead to 61-50 and Boston College got no closer, falling 67-53.

Johnson had 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in the Saturday win. Angel Scott added 14 points, five rebounds, and a pair of assists. The Ladyjacks shot 52.1% from the field (25-48) and 4-13 from distance (30.8%). They were -1 in rebounding margin but did a nice job of taking care of the ball, turning it over 14 times to the Eagles 17.

On Thursday, the Ladyjacks are scheduled to welcome No. 2 Gonzaga (this week’s mid-major poll rankings). However, the Zags game against Eastern Washington scheduled for Saturday was postponed due to institutional COVID protocol. They host Maine on Monday before making the trip out to Texas.

SFA is now 5-1 and reminding everyone why they are the defending WAC champions.

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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