LAFAYETTE, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats led nearly the whole way, but it came down to the game’s final minutes before the Kats were able to hang out for a 68-62 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday afternoon at the Cajundome.
The Bearkats (5-3) placed four players in double figures and out-rebounded the Cajuns (2-6) 34-30, but had to score nine points in the final 2:03 after squandering as much as a 12-point lead. Jenniffer Oramas led all scorers with 15 points in 39 minutes of work, including hitting four key foul shots in the game’s final minute to secure the win.
Lydia Baxter turned in her second consecutive double-double, providing 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Jaylonn Walker added 14 points, while Amber Leggett netted 12 points and seven boards. Leggett’s line came in just 17 minutes of work and included a stretch of seven key points in just 1:18 of gametime in the game’s final three minutes after the Cajuns had tied the game.
The win was the third straight win overall for Sam Houston and their second straight on the road, marking the first time the Kats have won consecutive road games in non-conference play since the 2009-10 season.
Brandi Williams led UL with 14 points, while Skyler Goodwin had 13.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bearkats led for nearly the entirety of the first half, hitting 51.9 percent of its shots from the floor and nearly doubling up the Cajuns on the glass to take a 36-30 win into the break. Sam Houston led by as much as six in the opening quarter after Walker nailed the first of the Kats’ six 3-pointers of the game to give SHSU a 17-11 lead with 2:02 to go in the opening quarter.
UL responded with points on each of their next three possessions, however, to tie it up, but Oramas made sure the Kats regained the lead as she pulled up and drained a triple from 30 feet away as the buzzer sounded to give SHSU a 22-19 lead after the opening 10 minutes of play.
The Cajuns got the first score of the second quarter, but the Kats answered with seven straight points, including 3-pointers from both Walker and Alyssa Osborne on two straight trips down the floor to push the lead back up 29-21 less than three minutes into the period. Sam Houston then got Baxter going as she put in six points in the quarter, the final bucket coming on a short jumper with 2:30 to play that capped a 7-0 spurt that peaked the first half lead at 36-24 before UL closed with six straight points of their own to trim the Bearkat lead to 36-30 at the half.
Neither team was able to get going offensively early in the third quarter with a layup from Baxter accounting for the only points for either squad in the first 3:18. But the Kats would get going and got the lead back up to a dozen with 4:04 to go at 48-36 on scores from Baxter and Oramas. The Kats would still lead by nine at the end of the quarter, but things would get dicey in the final period.
Louisiana kicked off the fourth on a quick 7-0 run before a layup from Dominique Maxwell got the Kats back on the board, keeping the lead at 52-48. But UL managed to come all the way back, capping a 13-2 run to open the quarter with two foul shots from Williams at the 4:02 mark that gave the Cajuns their first lead of the game at 54-52.
That’s when the Kats got going as Leggett tied it up on the next possession with a layup, and then after Oramas and Williams traded 3-point baskets to keep things tied at 59-59 with 2:03 to play, Leggett delivered an old-fashioned 3-point play that put the Kats up for good.
The Cajuns still trailed by just two with under a minute to go, but would come up empty on their final two possessions while Oramas closed it out with four straight makes at the line.
Sam Houston will now return home for its final game at Johnson Coliseum of the 2018 calendar year when it hosts Oral Roberts on Dec. 14. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.