Teamwork is a key for Sam Houston State University women’s basketball player Shernise Robertson.

The scoring leader in the Southland Conference this season is quick to give the credit for her success to her teammates.

“If it weren’t for the other players who create opportunities for me, I wouldn’t be scoring,” Robertson said. “They’re making great passes and our inside players are giving me screens to get me open. That’s what gives me the chance to make the big play.”

The 5-6 junior transfer from Tyler Junior College is averaging 18.2 points per game for the season and 22.1 points in Southland Conference play. Only six other times in the more than 40-year history of SHSU women’s basketball have Bearkat players averaged more than 18 points.

Roberson is one of several young players who have stepped up early in the 2014-15 season when things looked grim after a rash of injuries.

Six players, all returning letter-winners from last year’s squad, have missed multiple games this season.

Two seniors, Jazmin Wiley and Jasmine Robinson, have returned to action. But the bulk of playing time has been filled by two transfers, two freshmen and a pair of sophomores.

“Losing the players was a big deal for us,” Robertson said. “However, we found as a team that if we work together and move the ball, we can be successful.”

The hard work has paid off. After going through a challenging pre-Southland schedule with only one victory in 10 games, the team has come together to prove they can challenge any team in the league.

Almost at the mid-point of the season, the SHSU women stand 4-4. That includes a 65-64 victory over arch rival Stephen F. Austin, the league’s preseason favorite, and road wins at Abilene Christian and New Orleans.

Following the victories at ACU and over SFA in Huntsville, Robertson was named as Southland Conference women’s basketball “Player of the Week.” Both wins featured amazing come-from-behind efforts by the Bearkats.

In Abilene, the Kats were down 58-51 with 1:39 to play. Robertson scored 10 of SHSU’s points in a 12-0 run in the final minute to earn the road victory. Her effort included four consecutive free throws in the last 17 seconds against the Wildcats.

Against SFA, Robertson hit a pair of free throws for the winning points with 12 seconds left against Stephen F. Austin. She scored 28 points in the ACU victory and 21 against SFA.

“Those are exciting moments,” Robertson said about hitting clutch free throws or making big shots. “At the same time, it’s kind of nerve-racking. But, everyone on the team knows we all have each other’s back. We can count on any one to step up and make the big shot.”

Robertson was a key player in Tyler Junior College’s turn-around from an Apache team that won only 11 games in 2013 to a squad that reached the final eight at the NJCAA national tournament and rolled up 30 victories in 2014. The former Cy Falls High School all-district player averaged 18.2 points for Tyler, earning NJCAA all-region honors.

“Throughout high school, I wanted to come to Sam Houston,” Robertson said. “I made a commitment that once I got through junior college, Sam would be where I was coming. It’s a beautiful campus and I love it here.”

A kinesiology major, Robertson wants to become a basketball coach following graduation.

Outside the classroom, the junior guard’s primary goal is to help the Bearkat women earn a berth as one of the eight teams that qualify for the Southland Conference tournament in Katy in March.

“I think we are finding the chemistry as a team,” Robertson said. “We’re focused right now. We know what we have to do.  We feel we can hang in with any team in this conference.  If we can keep playing ball like we’re doing right now, we can finish in a good position.”

Five of Sam Houston’s final 10 games in Southland regular season play will be in Huntsville at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The games include Lamar Thursday January 29, Houston Baptist Saturday January 31, A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday February 12 and Central Arkansas Thursday February 26.

The winner of the league tournament in Katy earns the league’s automatic NCAA Championships playoff berth.