The Texas Southern Women and Men’s basketball teams were able to take home the Toyota SWAC Tournament Championship this past Saturday, March 11th at the Toyota Center in Houston.
This was the first time that both teams were able to win the SWAC tournament in the same year.
The Texas Southern women were led by head coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry and SWAC tournament MVP Joyce Kennerson to their first ever NCAA tournament bid.
The women defeated the Grambling State Tigers in a close, hard fought, 70-66 win.
“It was a hard fought game today between the co-champions of the SWAC regular season,” said Grambling State Coach Freddie Murray.
Kennerson scored 29 points, with three assists, for Texas Southern. Breasia McElrath contributed 10 points. Although Grambling State lost the game, they did not go down easily. Grambling State’s Shakyla Hill finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds as a point guard.
“The game came down to the free throw line, and we shot 50% from the free throw line,” said Coach Murray.
The Texas Southern women won their first-ever SWAC tournament, in the history of the school. This was a milestone for the TSU program. Coach Hayes-Perry was asked how she feels having to matchup with either UConn or Baylor in the NCAA tournament.
“The impossible can always happen,” said Coach Hayes-Perry. “They (TSU) have nothing to lose going into the NCAA tournament.”
On the men’s side of the SWAC tournament, Head Coach Mike Davis and SWAC Tournament MVP Marvin Jones pushed the Tigers to their third SWAC tournament title in the past four seasons, coming out on top against the Alcorn State Braves 53-50. Jones was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, after closing out the tournament with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the championship game on Saturday.
“He was a guy last year that averaged one point and one rebound, and for him to come here this year and just win the MVP reflects how he has played all season,” said Coach Davis.
Texas Southern really needed Jones to step up to the plate, because SWAC regular season Player of the Year Zach Lofton has been in a slump, and ended the championship game with only 3 points.
Although he was happy that his team made the NCAA tournament again, Coach Davis has a bigger picture in mind. He wants to make history by being the first HBCU to make the NCAA Final Four.
“I want the players who want to play in the NCAA tournament,” said Coach Davis. “I want players who want to do something special, and that is to be the first Black school to reach the Final Four.”
Both the TSU Women and Men’s teams have bright futures ahead of them, because both teams are only losing just one starter to start next season.
The Houston Forward Times wishes great success in the NCAA tournament to both of the Texas Southern basketball programs, and extends congratulations on this history-making accomplishment.