Central Arkansas women win 60-35, return to NCAA Tournament

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KATY, Texas (AP) — Maggie Proffitt scored 21 points to lead Central Arkansas to a 60-35 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Sunday in the Southland Conference Tournament championship for its 17th consecutive victory and a repeat appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Proffitt was 9-of-12 shooting with Taylor Baudoin adding 13 points and nine rebounds, Kierra Jordan nine points, 13 rebounds and three steals.

The top-seeded Sugar Bears (26-4) lost two of their first three conference games before going on their winning streak, which now includes three victories over the third-seeded Ladyjacks (25-7). Central Arkansas' second victory over SFA snapped a 14-game winning streak for the Ladyjacks.

The Sugar Bears played in title game for the third time in seven years and won their second straight championship. SFA was denied its 16th tournament title in its 20th finals appearance since 1988. The Ladyjacks' last tournament title came in 2006.

Stevi Parker led SFA with 11 points and eight rebounds. Taylor Ross, the conference player of the year who averaged nearly 20 points per game, was held to eight points before fouling out. SFA, which averaged over 77 points in conference play, shot just 27 percent.

"I feel like our guards did a great job of shutting down theirs," said Proffitt, the tournament MVP. "I think we kind of frustrated them and we fed on that. I really give a lot of credit to Bhrea (Griffin), Angel (Williams) and (Taylor) Sells. I think they frustrated Ross. She's a great player, but I feel like we did a great job."

Central Arkansas led 27-20 at halftime behind 10 points from Proffitt. The Sugar Bears held the Ladyjacks to just four third-quarter points as they extended their lead to 42-24 with Brianna Mullins scoring all six of her points in the period, including a layup with 5½ minutes left that put Central Arkansas ahead by double figures for good.

Proffitt scored nine points in the fourth as the Sugar Bears continued to build on their lead.

The Sugar Bears shot 48 percent, taking only six 3-point shots and holding a 36-18 advantage in the paint and a 17-3 edge in points off turnovers.

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