HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State broke through the win column on Saturday afternoon, using a pair of season bests to defeat Southeastern Louisiana, 68-61 from Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
Freshman guard Jenniffer Oramas and sophomore center Ashleigh Cooper set career-highs for points with 20 and 13 respectively. Four total Bearkats finished in double figures as Angela Delaney and Lydia Baxter each notched 10 points.
Sam Houston’s bench outscored the Lions, 33-0, while the Bearkats set season highs for points (68) and 3-point field goal percentage (.500) while finishing with the second-best field goal percentage (.400), 3-pointers made (6) and free throws made (22).
The Kats also held the Lions (4-16, 2-7 Southland) to a season-low in field goal percentage (.310). The victory was the first in 18 games this season and moved the Bearkats to 1-17 overall and 1-7 in league play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sam Houston used a 7-0 run over the span of 2:10, holding Southeastern Louisiana scoreless over 2:20 – a 0-for-7 stretch to build a 12-7 advantage.
The Kats forced 10 first-quarter turnovers and limited the Lions to three field goals to build a seven-point advantage while notching their highest first-quarter point total (17).
Jenniffer Oramas contributed eight first-quarter points including her team-leading 24th 3-pointer of the season.
In the second, the Lions held Sam Houston scoreless over 2:26 as part of a 0-for-5 drought from the field. The Lions used a 6-0 run over 2:09 to re-take the lead, 26-25.
The Bearkats responded, hitting 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions including an Angela Delaney shot at the buzzer as Sam Houston matched its largest halftime lead with a 35-30 advantage.
The Lions held Sam Houston scoreless over 2:47 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to one point with 4:04 to go in the frame. Despite going without a field goal over 4:27, Sam Houston created opportunities and capitalized at the free-throw line.
Sam Houston turned up the offense to begin the fourth, scoring the first five points of the frame to take a 54-49 advantage.
Southeastern Louisiana would get the lead down to one with 2:33 left but the Kats responded with five straight including an Oramas 3-pointer and Cooper jumper to force a Lions timeout as the Kats led 62-56.
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on the victory…
“Even from pre-game on, it was a different type of pre-game. It was a relaxed atmosphere. We’ve been telling them everything we’ve got to do. I am so excited. We had four players in double figures. We had a lot of assists. They knew this was overdue. Now, I think they have the confidence.”
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on the message down the stretch…
“I think the biggest thing we kept telling our kids was to box out and rebound. I didn’t think we did a good job of that early. We didn’t want to come off of No. 14. Mainly, our talks in timeouts were about the same. On the offensive end, we wanted to stay on the block.”
Freshman guard Jenniffer Oramas on her first win at Sam Houston…
“It’s indescribable. We deserved it. We work so hard. It feels good to get the first win. We wanted to pressure them. We got a lot of steals as a team. I think it started from practice.”
Sophomore center Ashleigh Cooper on the victory…
“I was at pre-game meal talking to coach (Stacy) Stephens and she was saying she had a feeling. I told her I was feeling it too. From there on, I thought we would win today and we did. I feel like there is no relief. We are hungry more than ever now trying to get to the conference tournament.”