| MESSAGE BOARD
REGION: West SEED: 16
COACH: Sandy Pugh CONFERENCE: SWAC
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
The 5-foot-7 sophomore was named an All-SWAC first-team selection for her regular-season performance, and already has taken her game up a notch in the postseason, earning SWAC tournament MVP honors as well. In the regular season, Monroe dominated at both ends, ranking fourth in the conference in scoring (16.9 points) and No. 1 in steals (2.7). She also dished an average of 2.8 assists per game.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
How does a team with just one senior reach the NCAA Tournament?
Call it new faces, new places. Because with two freshmen and a sophomore leading the way, the Jaguars reached the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history (and second time in three years).
Although senior Sheré Cunningham has been a steady force for Southern throughout the season -- she ranked 11th in the Southwest Athletic Conference in scoring with a 10.8 average -- the Jaguars' underclassmen seem most responsible for Southern's run through the SWAC tournament. The Jaguars opened the conference tournament as the league's No. 3 seed, but knocked off second-seeded Jackson State in the semifinals before securing an automatic bid to the Big Dance.
While freshmen took home some major hardware in the all-conference balloting, sophomore Rolanda Monroe earned a spot on the All-SWAC first team. Monroe also chipped in 21 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's SWAC championship win over eighth-seeded Mississippi Valley State.
Fredrieka Lewis, who tallied 24 points and 12 rebounds in the SWAC final, earned conference freshman of the year honors after averaging 10.7 points (13th in the conference) and 5.3 rebounds in the regular season. The 6-foot-5 rookie also was the conference's third-best shooter, hitting 48.7 percent of her shots from the field.
Ashley Blake, a 5-foot-10 redshirt freshman, was the league's co-newcomer of the year. The all-league second-team pick ranked sixth in the conference in scoring with a 13.9 average, and notched five double-doubles in the regular season. Blake, a forward, also ranked third in the SWAC in rebounding with 8.9 rebounds, and eighth in field-goal percentage (.442).
Though Southern sinks just 31.8 percent of its 3-point attempts, that was good enough to lead the conference. Cunningham appears to be the best long-distance threat after nailing a conference single-game high eight 3-pointers on Dec. 4.