HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sam Houston State shot a season-high 42 percent from the field and trailed by as little as four points with six minutes remaining but Nicholls did not let the Bearkats draw any closer in a 66-59 Colonels’ win on Saturday afternoon.
The Bearkats (0-13 overall, 0-3 Southland) posted a season-high for assists (17) and matched its season-low with 17 turnovers in the squad’s first home game since Nov. 21. Sam Houston outrebounded the Colonels (5-9, 2-1 SLC) but could not halt the tandem of Emani White and Cassidy Barrios, who each totaled 18 points and six of Nicholls’ 10 3-pointers.
Sam Houston sophomore forward Lydia Baxter registered her second double-double of the season and freshman guard Jenniffer Oramas matched her season high of 18 points in route to recording her fifth double-digit point performance of the season.
Kiera McKinney put home her first double-digit point performance with 11 points and added her 18th block of the season. The freshman forward has notched at least one block in nine games.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two squads exchanged 9-0 runs in the opening quarter as Sam Houston fell behind 11-4 early thanks to a Colonels’ run entering the four-minute media timeout. Sam Houston responded right back, sparked by an Angela Delaney 3-pointer with 2:53 left.
Lydia Baxter sunk a jumper with eight seconds left in the quarter to give Sam Houston a 13-11 advantage. Nicholls responded in the second quarter, outscoring Sam Houston 21-14, jumping out an eight-point lead on a 3-pointer from Emani White with 4:38 left.
Sam Houston climbed back, bringing the deficit to three points as Lydia Baxter hit 1-of-2 at the free throw line. The Bearkats, who entered the game shooting 63.4 percent from the charity stripe, continued to be hindered at the line, shooting 4-for-8 in the first half, and trailed 32-27 at the break.
In the third, Nicholls pushed its lead to 12 points just over two minutes in on a Tykeria Williams 3-pointer. With Sam Houston down 13, the Bearkats began chipping away, using an Ashleigh Cooper layup and pair of Baxter free throws to make it a nine-point game.
With 3:45 in the frame, Kiera McKinney used a nice pass from Baxter to make it a five-point game in favor of the Colonels at 42-37. Sam Houston climbed to within three on a pair of occasions as Jasmine McCants drained two free throws and followed with a jumper on the following possession.
When Sam Houston needed production in the fourth, however, it was tough to come by. The Bearkats were held scoreless over 3:46 and as Nicholls pushed its lead to 11 points courtesy of a 7-0 run with 2 ½ minutes remaining the game.
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols…
“I think we get moving and then we have a turnover and lapse a little bit. We had a big lapse where we called timeout and tried to re-group. We keep battling back and continue to improve. We had 41 boards tonight. We’re shooting the ball better and that has been our total goal.”
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on the performance of Lydia Baxter…
“Lydia can be a heck of a post player for us in this league. She has the right tools. She has to continue to stay in there and battle. When she gets in there and battles, no one can stop here. She can dominate. The double-double was great. It takes all those other players to get her the ball.”
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on improvement…
“For our team to have this adversity with the losses, we have not stopped. That is a true winner. A lot of teams would have already quit. They keep fighting. I want so bad for them to start winning. I hurt for them and I think that is the hardest part as a coach and mom. I know people only see the win-loss record but if people come to our practice or games, they will see we haven’t stopped yet. “