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Courtesy: Christopher Jones, Chris Jones Photography

Southern advances to Saturday's SWAC Women's Final

Courtesy: Fred Batiste, Special to GoJagsports.com
Release: 03/12/2016
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HOUSTON — Third-seeded Texas Southern closed Southern’s lead to two points with 6:32 remaining in their Toyota Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal game Friday.

However, the second-seeded Jaguars made too many key plays down the stretch and outscored the Lady Tigers 14-6 in the game’s final six minutes to defeat TSU 62-54 at the Toyota Center. Southern advances to Saturday’s conference tournament final, where it seeks its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010.

The Jaguars (19-10) take on the Alabama State/Grambling State winner at 2 p.m., and the game will stream live on ESPN3.com.

Brianna Green scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the game’s final six. Miaya Crowder and Britney Washington added 10 points each in the win.

All-SWAC first-teamer Brianna Sidney led Texas Southern (19-11) with 14 points while all-conference second-team selection Toni Cheadle added 12. Conference Defensive Player of the Year Kianna Vines chipped in with 10 points.

“Anytime we play Texas Southern, it’s always epic seemingly,” Southern head coach Sandy Pugh said.

A Vines free throw cut Southern’s lead to 48-46 with 6:32 remaining. The game took a turn when Cheadle fouled out with 5:44 left in regulation.

“We have a short bench, and down the stretch when the game is tight you’d much rather have your senior on than your freshman,” TSU head coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry said.

Green scored a layup to push the margin to 50-46 with 5:13 left to play, and got a big basket as Washington nailed a three from the wing as the shot clock wound down to increase the Southern lead to 53-46 with 4:16 remaining.

Sidney responded with a three from the corner, cutting the Jags’ lead to 53-49 with 3:36 remaining. Another Green basket with nearly three minutes left in regulation gave Southern a 55-49 lead.

TSU cut the lead back down to four as Breasia McElrath scored to make the score 55-51 with 2:45 remaining. The Lady Tigers would get no closer as another basket by Green pushed the lead up to 57-51 with 1:41 left to play.

“These kids on both sides of the ball played hard today,” Hayes-Perry said. “It felt like the championship game because we knew what was at stake, and both teams showed up.”

The Jaguars finished the game with Green knocking down free throws down the stretch to win the game.

“Brianna does what she does, she’s our utility player,” Pugh said. “She does it all for us.”

The Jaguars finished the first quarter with an 18-15 lead, and led by as many as eight points early in the second quarter before the Lady Tigers battled back to close the lead to 32-30 at halftime. TSU held slight advantages in the third quarter before Southern regained the lead (44-43) late in the third quarter.

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