Prairie View women upset Texas Southern 63-58Prairie View A&M coach Dawn Brown calls a play against Southern during the first half of an NCCA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament Friday, March 14, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
HOUSTON (AP) -- LaReahn Washington and Jeanette Jackson combined for 42 points, helping Prairie View upset Texas Southern 63-58 Saturday for the SWAC title and an NCAA tournament berth.
Jackson had 22 points, including four free throws in the final 30 seconds, to clinch the team's fourth straight conference title and sixth NCAA appearance in school history.
''I am very confident,'' Jackson said about making the clutch free-throws, ''and I think it's because I've been here a few times.''
Washington added 20 points in the winning effort, which capped a season-long turnaround after the Lady Panthers lost their first 11 games under first-year coach Dawn Brown.
''I just let them know that you can't let Texas Southern take this moment from you,'' Brown said she told her team. ''Since 2011, this is what Prairie View A&M University does. You see our best basketball in March.''
TSU was led by conference player of the year Jazzmin Parker, who scored 20 points. Alexus Johnson added 16. The title game appearance was TSU's first in school history.
Down 59-55 with just over a minute to go, Parker had a chance to bring her team within one but missed a 3-point attempt. After Washington was called for a change, TSU's Miracle Davis turned the ball over under her own basket with 40 seconds left.
Prairie View took a 31-29 lead into halftime. Johnson rallied TSU with 10 straight points for a 43-39 lead. The redshirt freshman scored inside and out, single-handedly taking the Lady Tigers on a 10-2 run.
Prairie View's Washington then led a 9-0 run, but TSU's Parker hit a 3-pointer to cap five quick points for a 48-48 tie before the Lady Panthers pulled away.
The turning point for Prairie View?
''Coach just getting on us,'' Jackson said. ''We don't like getting yelled and at and when she got on us, we knew we had to pick it up if we wanted to win.''
TSU coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry said her team will take lessons from the loss.
''Our kids are learning how to win and have never been in this situation before,'' Hayes-Perry said. ''We picked a technical foul we shouldn't have and that hurt. Winners stay in the game and we didn't do that. They just outplayed us.''