Lynchburg, Va. - Defending Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart outscored Sam Houston 9-2 in the final two-and-a-half minutes of action to pull out a 66-62 victory over the Bearkats Friday afternoon in preseason Women's National Invitational (WNIT) consolation action.

Britni Martin scored 17 points and Chanice Smith added 14 to lead Sam Houston (0-2) as SHSU and SHU battled in a see-saw game with 11 lead changes.

"It was a hard-fought game today," SHSU head coach Brenda Nichols said. "Our focus was to come into the game, clean up some tiny things like crashing the board and making better decisions. We did that. The fight was good and now we need to prepare for the next game and make it happen."

Down 44-37 with 14 minutes to play, the Bearkats went on a 25-15 run to take a one-point lead, 62-61, on a lay-up by Martin with 1:16 remaining.

Sacred Heart did not allow the Kats to score again. Morgan Merriman put her team ahead 63-62 with a layup with 1:02 left and Gabriel Washington fired in a three-pointer with 13 seconds to play to seal the victory.

Washington led Sacred Heart with 21 points. Merriman scored 18 and Kiley Evans added 17.

Turnovers were key for Sam Houston. Sacred Heart scored 17 points off SHSU's 23 turnovers while the Bearkats could collect only 13 points from SHU's 15 miscues.

Sam Houston won the rebounding battle with 48 boards to Sacred Heart's 43. Sequeena Thomas and Angela Beadle led both teams each with 10 rebounds.

SHSU point guard Jasmine Johnson totaled seven assists.

"Britni Martin had a great game," Nichols said. "She battled on both ends of the court.

The Bearkats now will complete action in the WNIT with a second consolation game at 4 p.m. Saturday against the loser of the Liberty versus Grambling State contest.