HUNTSVILLE- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was too much to handle as they pulled away in the final period to win 61-48 Wednesday night over Sam Houston State at the Dugan Wellness Center.
A&M-Corpus Christi (14-8, 7-4 SLC) was powered by four players scoring in the double digits to hand Sam Houston State (4-17, 1-11 SLC) their eleventh conference loss of the season.
Lydia Baxter led all Bearkat scorers with 16 points on a double-double night in which she added 13 rebounds, two assists and three steals. Akarian Morgan was the next leading Bearkat with all nine points coming by virtue of the longball.
Dalesia Booth was the leading scorer out of the four islanders who reached double digits with 14 points. Brittany Mbamalu and Dae Dae Evans each added 12 for the Islanders with Mbamalu dishing out three assists and grabbing five boards while Veans had five steals. Kre’Ana Henry rounded out the four Islanders in double digits with 10 points.
The Bearkats return home for a pivotal two-game stretch as they look to make a push for the Southland tournament. The Kats will face the best Southland team in Lamar on Saturday as they kick of the Johnson Coliseum doubleheader at 3 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
The first quarter was low-scoring, but the Kats came out on top after the first period. The Kats didn’t score until Rachel Harrell drained a jumper with 7:23 left which sparked a quick 8-0 run to give the Kats and 8-4 lead with 4:24 remaining in the period after a Lydia Baxter layup. Kiera McKinney would then go on to hit a jumper with few ticks remaining to give the Kats the two-point advantage after the opening quarter.
The Bearkats carried their momentum from the opening period as they began the second period on an 8-2 run after a Baxter free-throw to make it 21-15 with 6:46 remaining in the opening half. The score remained the same as neither team could buy a bucket over the next two minutes before Morgan drained her second triple of the quarter to drive the Kat lead to 24-15 with 4:11 remaining before the break. The Islanders responded to the Kats early second quarter dominance with a quick 9-0 spurt to tie the game at 24 with 1:33 remaining before halftime.
The Islanders continued to put it on the Kats after Evans scored 4 straight points thanks to a pair of free throws and mid-range jumper to give the Islanders a 28-24 halftime lead. During the Islanders run to close out the half the Kats went 0-8 from the field and committed two turnovers compared to the Islanders shooting 3-4 from the field and draining seven of their nine free throw attempts.
The Kats bench doubled the Islander output 12-6 in the first half, but the Kats lost the turnover battle 11-6. Sam Houston hit three triples in the first 20 minutes compared to the Islanders not finding the mark once, but the Islanders outshot the Kats 34.5 percent compared to 31 percent.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
Rachel Harrell got the Kats started again in the second half with a triple thanks to a dish from Morgan to bring the Kats within three early in the third. Both teams locked in on defense as next points didn’t come until Uri Jolivette drained a free throw for the Islanders with 5:42 remaining. The Bearkats finally got back in the scoring column after a Baxter free throw to shave the Islander lead down to 34-28 with 4:52 remaining in the quarter.
The Bearkats responded to the Islanders as they went on a 9-2 run after the Baxter free throw capped off by a Harrell triple to capture the lead 37-36 with 48 seconds left in the third. But the Islanders quickly responded with five quick points to take a 41-37 lead into the final period.
Sam Houston opened up scoring in the final period after Morgan found Kevyn Ferriera for the lay-in with 8:24 remaining in the contest to cut the Islander lead to two. Both teams would then go on back-and-forth until two Booth charity stripe shots pushed the Islander lead to 48-42 with 4:36 remaining.
The Kats couldn’t really gain any more ground on the Islanders as the Islanders responded to every Bearkat bucket over the final stretch of the final period highlighted by two straight Islander triples to push the lead to 10 with 1:30 remaining. The Islanders continued to drain big shots as they closed out the final four minutes on a 14-4 run to pick up the victory 62-48.
The Bearkats couldn’t overcome their 18 turnovers on the night as they could only force 11 Islander turnovers. The Kats outrebounded the Islanders 43-39, but got outshot on the night 36 percent to 28 percent.