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Lady Cards drops nail-biter to Stephen F. Austin

The Cardinals will have a bye on Wednesday before travelling to neighboring McNeese for the Battle of the Border on Saturday, February 1

BEAUMONT, Texas — Redshirt senior Amber Vidal finished the afternoon with 23 points, but it was not enough as Stephen F. Austin sank a last second free throw to take the win, 54-53, over the Cardinals on Saturday in the Montagne Center.

Vidal finished the afternoon shooting 10-for-19 from the field, and tacked on three rebounds, an assist and a steal in her performance. The Cardinals rattled off 22 points in the first quarter, compared to just 11 for the Ladyjacks. Senior Briana Laidler picked up seven points and six rebounds in the first half to put Lamar up, 31-27, heading into the break.

Stephen F. Austin was led by freshman Zya Nugent. Nugent finished the afternoon with 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting, while picking up three rebounds and two steals along the way. The Ladyjacks were able to control the Cardinals as they limited Lamar to just 33 percent in the second half. SFA only controlled the lead for 8 minutes compared to 27 minutes from the Cards, but it was enough to take the lead into the final whistle, 54-53. 

Laidler finished the contest with 12 rebounds and nine points, just one point short of a double-double. She picked up three blocks and three steals to add to her performance. Sophomore Angel Hastings added nine points and four rebounds.

From Coach Aqua Franklin:

On the atmosphere and the game:

"If people were not in the Montagne tonight and watch the game at two o'clock, they missed the show. I thought it was unbelievable matchup between the two teams. We both fought hard and made some huge plays to capitalize on each other's mistake. It was a nail biter. I am proud of my team. I don't do moral victories, but proud of the effort and toughness we showed on the court, even when going down six with two minutes ago and coming back in time the game up and have an opportunity to take the lead at one point, and not finish the game and have an opportunity to win it. I've been telling Amber since day one if she steps out of her comfort zone. She'll be an outstanding player, and in the last two practices, she's done that. As a result, her game showed that 10-for-19 with 23 points, and if it wasn't for her in the first half, we would not have had the lead. We had an unbelievable effort by ladies and just excited and ready to get back to work and take on whoever's next."

From Redshirt Senior Amber Vidal:

On what it means to sit for a here and to experience the Montagne crowds:

"You work pretty much your entire life for moments like these. I think without the fans, maybe it would be a little harder to win just because they do bring so much energy in our team. Our team feeds off of energy and when people start to hype us up, so I think that definitely the crowd helped us today."

Up Next: The Cardinals will have a bye on Wednesday before travelling to neighboring McNeese for the Battle of the Border on Saturday, February 1. Tip off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (CT).