Box Score ITTA BENA -- For weeks, Mississippi Valley State have been playing like the best team in the SWAC.
On Monday, it became reality.
The Devilettes came into Monday night's game against Southern on a record pace. In its last four victories, MVSU had ouscored its opponets by an average of 21.7 points.
Valley (7-9, 4-1 SWAC) upped that total by defeating the visiting Jaguars 78-61 to secure first place in the conference. MVSU has won five of its last six games.
Using a full-court pressure defense, the Devilettes staved off a potential comeback by the Jaguars. Key shots by Lenise Stallings (21 points) helped stretch the lead late for Valley.
"We knew that our pressure would eventually wear them down," said MVSU coach Nate Kilbert. "That's our style of play. We think we're deep enough to play that way, and we like playing that way. It's exciting basketball and our kids enjoy playing that way. We knew eventually we would wear them down. And we thought if it was a close ballgame, with about four or five minutes left in the game, we'd be able to pull away from them."
It was a team effort for the Devilettes who had double-figure scoring from three players and a near double-double for Alia Frank, who put up nine points and 11 rebounds.
Stallings was hot most the night, hitting seven of 11 shots, including four of seven from three-point land. Ka'Neisha Smith added 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists while De'Kisha Fondon chipped in 11 points and five boards.
MVSU shot 45.3 percent (29 of 64) and hit eight of 23 three-pointers. They went 12 of 24 from the free throw line.
Kendra Coleman had 24 points and seven rebounds for Southern (5-8, 4-2 SWAC), which is now in a three-way tie for second place with Jackson State and Alcorn State.
MVSU will be at Prairie View A&M on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tipoff.