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SWAC Women's Championship
#2 Prairie View A&M 67, #1 Jackson State 62

March 10, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Before Prairie View hired Cynthia Cooper-Dyke as its head coach in 2005, the Lady Panthers had not enjoyed as much as a winning season, let alone a conference championship.

But after finishing off Jackson State 67-62 Saturday afternoon in the Southwestern Athletic Conference women’s championship game at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena, Prairie View now has both.

Candice Thomas scored a game-high 26 points to earn tournament Most Valuable Player honors and No. 2-seed Prairie View (19-13) withstood a strong second half surge from top-seeded Jackson State (22-10) to earn the SWAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Lady Panthers opened up a double-digit lead within the first six minutes of the game, using their vaunted full-court press to force Jackson State into several turnovers that led to easy baskets. While Prairie View opened the game connecting on 5 percent of its shot attempts, the Lady Tigers missed 17-of-21 from the field and fell behind as many as 15 points.

Jackson State was able to cut the deficit to within four points but Prairie View went into halftime with a 35-27 advantage.

The Lady Tigers opened the second half with a vengeance, making eight of its first 11 shots and outscoring Prairie View 20-7 to open the half. Shelita Burns’ turnaround jumper at 15:41 tied game at 42 and on the ensuing possession, a steal and layup by Carena Easley gave JSU 44-42 advantage.

JSU would lead by as many as five points but went cold from the field, missing 9-of-11 shots. Prairie View was able to regain control, pushing the lead as high as 13 points. Jackson State got the deficit back into single digits, but the Lady Panthers hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Burns and Easley each had 14 points for Jackson State.

Gaati Werema had 10 points and 17 rebounds and Twila Stokes had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Prairie View A&M.

2007 SWAC All-Tournament Team

Delores Hughley – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Lacey Cormier’ – Grambling State
Candace Thomas – Prairie View A&M
Shelita Burns – Jackson State
Gaati Werema – Prairie View A&M

MVP: Candace Thomas – Prairie View A&M