It will be a battle of Texas in Texas between Texas Southern and Prairie View in the men’s and women’s SWAC championship games on Saturday.
Texas Southern advanced to the title game with a trilling 79-77 win over Jackson State in overtime in the women’s bracket.
Jazzmin Parker led Texas Southern with 21 points, including hitting what turned out to be the game- winning jumper in the final seconds of the extra session to break a 77-77 tie.
Texas Southern will now face Prairie View for the right to represent the conference in the women’s NCAA tournament.
Texas Southern won both regular season match ups against Prairie View (63-59 on Jan. 11 and 74-70 on Feb. 8) by a combined eight points.
If the outcome of the first two contests is any indication, the title tilt should be another tight one, as both teams are virtually mirror images of each other.
TSU is led by Parker, who during the regular season was the Tigers’ leader in points per game, three-point percentage and steals. Through two games in the SWAC tournament, Parker has averaged 20 points per game, which was better than the 19.7 she averaged previously.
“We knew that we had to raise the bar coming into the tournament,” said Texas Southern head coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry.
TSU will bring in tow with them to the championship game a defense that ranked no lower than third in the conference in field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage defense and defensive rebounding.
Conference opponents have been held below their averages in points and in field goal percentage in more than half of the contests by TSU.
Prairie View hasn’t been tested so far in the tournament winning by 18.5 points per game. The highlight of their run was a 72-47 win over No. 1 seed Southern in their semifinal game. The win clinched their fourth straight berth into the championship game.
Prairie View, although they were outscored during the regular season by nearly six points per game (65.2 to 71.1), made up for the point differential by holding opponents to 52 points per game in the SWAC tournament.
Brown’s bunch has been helped by the steady play of Gabrielle Scott, Jeanette Jackson, Alexus Parker and LaReahn Washington. They have brought the Panthers to the brink of a championship after heading into the tournament with a 13-17 record.
“They’ve been resilient,” said Prairie View head coach Dawn Brown