SAN ANTONIO – The Sam Houston State Bearkats erupted for a big third quarter and ran away from the UIW Cardinals in the second half, winning their second straight league game, 76-56, on Saturday afternoon at the McDermott Convocation Center.
Sam Houston (7-6, 2-1 SLC) trailed by one at the half, but outscored UIW (1-13, 1-2 SLC) 27-11 in the third quarter and 47-26 in the second half to move above the .500 mark in Southland Conference play.
Jaylonn Walker and Amber Leggett each had a game-high 14 points with all of Walker’s coming in the first half. Leggett had a dozen of her points in the second half and added 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks to her totals for her first double-double of the year.
Lydia Baxter was the third Kat in double figures, finishing with 12 points and 11 boards of her own for her fifth double-double in her last seven games.
In all the Kats hit 40.7 percent from the field, but were better than 50 percent in the second half. Defensively they turned the Cardinals over 26 times and held UIW to just 3-for-20 shooting from beyond the arc on their home floor.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bearkats were able to weather a slow start that saw the Cardinals race out to a 9-2 lead in the game’s first two minutes. But the Kats were able to answer with a 10-3 run of their own, eventually taking the lead on a layup from Walker from the left side of the lane.
A late bucket from Walker went down on the Kats’ final possession of the period that looked as though it would give SHSU the lead after a quarter of play, but UIW’s Star Omozee drained a 25-footer from straightaway as the buzzer sounded, giving the Cardinals a 16-15 advantage after the initial 10 minutes.
UIW carried that over into the second quarter, holding the Kats without a field goal for the first four minutes before Walker took the lid off the basket with a layup that gave her eight points for the game and cut the UIW lead to 21-17. That sparked an 11-2 run that included a trey from Tia Harston and a 3-point play by Lydia Baxter, building the lead to 26-23.
Walker finished with 14 points in the half, but no other Bearkat had more than three as the Cardinals closed the half on a 7-3 spurt to take a 30-29 lead into the locker room after holding Sam Houston to just 31.3 percent from the field.
The second half was a different story from the beginning as Sam Houston scored the first 13 points of the third quarter and never looked back. The Kats hit eight of their 15 shots from the floor in the quarter, but UIW was not able to get a field goal to go down until the 1:19 mark of the quarter, finishing just 1-for-14 from the field.
By then Sam Houston had already built its lead to 54-40 and that did not change in the fourth quarter with the lead getting as high as 73-47 late in the quarter on a bucket from La’Sha Haynes.
Sam Houston will try to make it three wins in a row, and two in a row on the road, on Wednesday when they travel to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to take on the Islanders. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. from the Dugan Wellness Center on the TAMUCC campus.