HOUSTON, Texas – For three quarters on Monday night, it appeared Sam Houston was poised to pick up its first win of the season in its opening Southland Conference game.
The Bearkats saw a 12-point third quarter lead dissolve as Houston Baptist’s offense caught fire in a 61-51 Huskies’ victory from Sharp Gym.
The late-game stumble overshadowed a night in which Sam Houston re-set a season-best for fewest first-half points allowed (20) only to permit its most fourth-quarter points (27). The loss drops Sam Houston to 0-11 overall and 0-1 in league action while HBU improved to 3-9 and 1-1 in conference play.
Freshman post Kiera McKinney registered a season-high three blocks while bringing home eight boards, her second-most of the season and most in seven games. McKinney, who entered the game 20th nationally for blocks per game by a freshman, upped her season total to 15.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sam Houston responded from a slow start that included a six-point first-quarter deficit to re-take a 10-8 lead by the end of the frame. The eight points were the fewest allowed through 11 games in the opening quarter.
The Bearkats closed out the first quarter and opened the second by scoring 14 consecutive points, holding the Huskies scoreless for seven-plus minutes to double-up the score, 16-8, on a Morghen Day jumper with 8:16 in the second quarter.
One minute later, the Huskies had trimmed the Sam Houston lead to four points at 18-14 but the Kats bounced back. The Bearkats went on a 6-0 run to take their largest lead of the game while holding HBU without a made field goal over 4 ½ minutes.
Sam Houston permitted just 20 points in the first half, the fewest of the season while holding HBU to 23.1 percent shooting (6 of 26). The Bearkats controlled the boards, winning the rebounding margin 26-18 and outscored the Huskies bench 17-4.
The Bearkats opened the third quarter on fire, outscoring the Huskies 9-2 to begin the frame. After Rachel Harrell sunk a 3-pointer for her first points, McCants followed with a layup, forcing a Houston Baptist timeout with Sam Houston ahead 34-22.
From that point forward in the third quarter, however, the Huskies outscored 12-4, rendering Sam Houston scoreless during the final 5:21.
The momentum continued in HBU’s favor to open the fourth quarter as the home team outscored the Kats 8-2 to re-take the lead at 42-40 for the first time since maintaining an 8-7 advantage three minutes into the game. The Huskies never looked back, outscoring Sam Houston 27-13 in the final frame.
Sam Houston closes out its season-high eight-game road trip on Thursday with a 5:30 p.m. visit to Lake Charles, La., to face McNeese. The second game of Southland play for the Kats will be part of a double-header featuring the men’s squad with both games being broadcast on 101.7 KSAM.