Jaguars set to make fifth NCAA Tournament appearance
by Southern U. Athletic Media Relations
March 21, 2019
STARKVILLE, Miss -- Southern University women's basketball will make the program's fifth NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament appearance when the Jaguars face top-seeded Mississippi State on Friday night.
Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. CST. but will begin roughly 30 minutes after the Clemson-South Dakota game.
The NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament first-round game will air live on ESPN2 and stream live on ESPN3. Fans can tune in to the Southern University radio broadcast with the voice of the Jaguars, Chris Powers, on Heaven 1460 AM WXOK and online on GoJagSports.com.
Led by first-year head coach Carlos Funchess, who spent 13 seasons at Southern as an assistant coach under former coach Sandy Pugh, Southern defeated Jackson State 45-41 to add the league’s tournament title to pair with repeating as regular season champions after finishing 14-4 in the SWAC.
Southern faces a Mississippi State squad who finished 30-2 and cruised to the Southeastern Conference regular season title, posting a 15-1 record. The Bulldogs, led by the 2019 SEC Player of the Year Teaira McCowan, traversed the SEC Tournament field largely untested, winning three games by a 20.3 average margin of victory. McCowan also was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive time in her illustrious career.
Mississippi State bolsters four players scoring in double figures and shoots a shade under 50 percent from the field.
Southern trails the overall series with Mississippi State 0-8 and fell to the Bulldogs 69-46 in the previous meeting in 2003 in Starkville, Miss. Southern and Mississippi State each share two common opponents on their respective schedules. Southern fell to Kentucky 91-41 this season and topped Jackson State 2-1, including a 45-41 win in the 2019 SWAC Tournament Championship. Mississippi State hosted Jackson State during its non-conference schedule and won 105-38 before handing Kentucky a 86-71 loss in SEC play.
TEAM TOURNAMENT FACTS
-Friday, March 22 marks the 17-year anniversary of Southern University’s first NCAA Women’s Tournament Appearance in 2002. Southern won the SWAC Regular Season and Tournament Titles and earned the programs first NCAA Bid and faced Colorado in the West Region as a 14-seed, the highest seed in SU Tournament history.
-Southern University is making its fifth NCAA Women’s Tournament Appearance and the programs first trip since meeting top-seeded UConn in 2010 in Norfolk, Va.
2002-Southern 61, Colorado 88; Boulder, Colo./West Regional
2004-Southern 57, Texas 92; Austin, Texas/West Regional
2006-Southern 27, Duke 96; Norfolk, Va./Bridgeport Regional
2010-Southern 39, UConn 95; Norfolk, Va/Dayton Regional
-Southern is 0-4 in its previous NCAA Tournament Appearances. Only once has Southern made it to the tournament and did not win the SWAC regular season title (2004)
This season marks the second time in Southern University women’s basketball history the team captured SWAC Regular season and Tournament title and the league's Coach of the Year award. (Sandy Pugh 2002, Carlos Funchess 2019)
-Southern's five NCAA Tournament Appearances have all come after the turn of the century starting in 2002.
Tournament Highs (Team/Individual)
Points - 61, vs. Colorado, 2002
Points - 25, Jacklyn Winfield vs. Colorado
Points in a half - 40, vs. Colorado, 2002
FG Made - 22, twice, vs. Texas, 2004
FG Made - 9, Jacklyn Winfield vs. Colorado
3-FG Made - 7, vs. Colorado, 2002
3-FG Made - 3, three times, Rolanda Monroe vs. Texas
Rebounds - 31, vs. Colorado, 2002
Rebounds.- 9, Angela Bullock vs. Colorado, 2002
FT Made - 10, vs. Colorado, 2002
FT Made - 4 (4-4), vs. Colorado, 2002
ABOUT HEAD COACH CARLOS FUNCHESS
-After 13 seasons as the Associate Head Coach, Carlos Funchess was named former head coach Sandy Pugh’s successor during the summer of the 2018 and the Southern women’s basketball program has not missed a step.
-Funchess holds the distinction of being the first coach in program history to win the SWAC Regular season outright, the SWAC Tournament title and SWAC Coach of the Year award in his first season.
-His 20-wins joins Herman Hartman as first-year coaches to win 20 or more games in their first season
-A standout player at Northeast Louisiana (ULM), Funchess was a two-time All-Southland first team selection from 1989 to 1991. He helped ULM to back to back Southland regular season and tournament titles and earned the program consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
-As a senior, he averaged 19.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, earning him co-MVP honors with teammate Anthony Jones.
-He is also a former collegiate slam dunk champion beating Jones in the final of the College Slam Dunk Contest in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN.
-Funchess, a 1992 graduate of ULM, is married to the former Sondia Mills of Monroe and has two daughters, Tynee and Chelsea.
-In 2007, Funchess, a native of Magee, Miss, was named to the ULM Sports Hall of Fame. After his collegiate, Funchess signed a free agent contract with the Miami Heat before playing professionally in the Global and Continental Basketball Associations
ABOUT 2018 SENIOR CLASS
-Southern seniors Skylar “Sky” O’Bear, Danayea “Shorty” Charles, Rishonti “Shonti” Coward and Courtney “CoCo” Parson have combined to win 70 games, three SWAC regular season championships and one SWAC Tournament title.
-During their careers, the class of 2019 have two postseason appearances in the Women’s NIT in 2016 (Arkansas State) and 2018 (Alabama).
-Skylar O’Bear, who is a former prep standout from White Castle, La. and has a brother who played baseball at rival Grambling State, enters with 890 points scored and 168 3-pointers made.
-Rishonti Cowart suffered a horrific leg injury in the 2017 season opener that caused her to miss the entire season. But after enduring a long rehab process, Cowart returned this season to play in 29 of Southern’s 32 games, including scoring a season-high 13 points in a SWAC win over Alabama State.
ABOUT SWAC TOURNAMENT MVP ALYRIC SCOTT
-Sophomore forward Alyric Scott led Southern in scoring four times this season and finished as the Jaguars top rebounder in 12 of the Jaguars 30 games. But her performance when SU needed it most earned her the MVP award for the 2019 SWAC Tournament. In the semifinal against rival Grambling State, Scott, a native of Richton, Miss, drilled a career-high four three-pointers in a 71-69 win. In the title game against Jackson State, Scott posted her third double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and snatching a career-high 15 rebounds.
-Scott is one of three players from the state of Mississippi playing for the Jaguars this season. Scott prepped at Richton High School, located east of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
-Playing in her home state, Scott scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 67-46 win over Mississippi Valley in Itta Bena, Miss. In her two-year career, Scott has scored 96 points in games against teams from the state of Mississippi in nine games for a 10.6 average.