SFA, Abilene Christian Win Southland Conference Basketball Titles at Merrill Center

By George Slaughter

The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks and Abilene Christian Wildcats won their respective Southland conference basketball titles this weekend at the Merrill Center. The titles qualify them for the NCAA women’s and men’s basketball tournaments, respectively, which begin later this week.

SFA, 24-2, will face Georgia Tech, 15-8, in the first round of the HemisFair Regional, which is being played in San Antonio. All the women’s tournament games are being played this year in San Antonio.

ACU, 23-4, will face Texas, 19-7, Saturday in the first round of the East Regional.

SFA Wins Women’s Title

Courtesy Stephen F. Austin State University

Aiyana Johnson scored 16 points, and Zya Nugent scored 13 points, to lead SFA past Sam Houston State 56-45 Sunday.

Johnson, a junior, also had eight rebounds, three blocks, and two steals in the game. She was named most valuable player in the tournament. Nugent, a sophomore, was named to the all-tournament team.

The Ladyjacks last won the Southland Conference women’s tournament in 2018. The Lady Bearkats finish their season at 15-8.

SFA joins Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M as the teams from Texas to qualify for the women’s tournament.

ACU Wins Men’s Title

Courtesy Abilene Christian University

Joe Pleasant and Damien Daniels scored 13 points each, and Reggie Miller scored 11 points, to lead ACU past Nicholls State 79-45 Saturday.

Pleasant, a junior, also had 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats last won the tournament in 2019. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 tournament. The Colonels finish their season at 18-7.

ACU and Texas are two of seven teams from Texas to qualify for the men’s tournament. The other teams are Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Texas Southern, and Texas Tech.