HUNTSVILLE- Sam Houston hit a season-high 11 triples, but the Colonels showed a presence in the paint to pick up a hard-earned 70-65 win Wednesday night at Johnson Coliseum.
Nicholls (12-12, 7-6 SLC) was powered by three players scoring in the double digits to hand Sam Houston State (4-19, 1-13 SLC) their sixth consecutive conference loss of the season.
Jenniffer Oramas led the nine Bearkats in the scoring column with 14 points coupled with 6 assists. Rachel Harrell had a terrific all-around outing with all 12 of her points coming off four second-half triples while also dishing out six assists. Anastacia Mickens was the only other Kat in double figures with 10 points off of 4-5 shooting.
Nicholls’ trio of Marina Lilly, Tykeria Williams and Cassidy Barrios combined for 61 of the Colonels 70 points as Barrios led all scorers with 25 points while dishing out four dimes and swiping five balls from the Kats. Williams scored 20 for the Colonels with 15 of them coming from beyond the arc where she shot an efficient 5-9 clip. Marina Lilly was a force in the paint on a night where she finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points.
The Bearkats will hit the road for the final time this season over a two-game stretch where they will take on Houston Baptist Feb. 17 and New Orleans on Feb. 21.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Jenniffer Oramas got things going for the Kats against the Colonels canning a triple from straight on off the Dominique Maxwell dish. However, those were the only Bearkat points in the first five minutes as the Colonels capitalized on the Kat’s early shooting troubles to pull ahead 9-3 off of three early Tykeria Williams trifectas. The Kats quickly answered back to tie the game at nine with 3:26 remaining.
The Colonels took a 13-11 lead into the second period after allowing the Kats to only score 2 points in the final 3 minutes with Lydia Baxter converting a layup with eight ticks remaining. The Kats quickly tied the match at 13 thanks to a Kiera McKinney layup off the dime by Rachel Harrell, but the Colonels responded with a 7-2 run to stretch their lead to 20-15 with eight minutes remaining before halftime. But the Kats quickly found their rhythm after an Akarian Morgan tied the game at 20 with 6:30 remaining.
Nicholl’s Williams continued her success from beyond the arc as she canned two more in the next minute to propel the Colonels to a 28-23 advantage, but Kevyn Ferriera got in on the downtown action as well canning a triple in front of the Colonels bench to bring the Kats to within two with 3:41 remaining before halftime.
The Kats took their first lead of the game after Oramas hit her second shot from downtown to lead 31-30 wit 1:13 remaining until halftime, but the Colonels scored a quick four points in the final 70 seconds to take a 34-31 lead into the lockers.
The Colonels were locked in around the basket outscoring the Kats 14-8 in the paint after the first 20 minutes, but the Kats capitalized on the 10 colonel turnovers converting them into 10 points on the board compared to the Colonels scoring five points off the eight Sam Houston turnovers. Both teams shot it well from beyond the arc with the Colonels slightly owning the edge with a 50 percent clip compared to the Kats 45.5 percent mark.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
The Colonels came out of the halftime lockers on a mission as they raced out to a 10-point lead thanks to a 9-2 run in the first three and a half minutes. The Bearkats fought back valiantly as they chipped away to bring them to within three with 1:53 left after two Harrell canned two straight triples.
The Colonels carried a 50-47 into the final period, but the Kats locked in as Harrell opened up the scoring for the Kats with her third triple to bring the Kats within one with 8:18 remaining. The Colonels would pull back ahead by five after two straight layups, but the Kats quickly responded to tie the game at 55 with 5:55 remaining after an Oramas triple from straight on and an Ashleigh Cooper layup.
Nicholls didn’t allow another Bearkat point for three minutes after Mickens tied the game at 57 as they stretched their advantage to 62-57 with 2:14 remaining, but Harrell hit another trifecta to bring the game back to a one possession game with two minutes left.
The Colonels pushed it back to a two-possesion game after Barrios converted on a tough layup with 90 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Bearkat possession they would go on to miss a triple and be forced to send Nicholls to the line. Nicholls’ Tia Charles would can one free throw to push the lead to 65-60 with 48 seconds left.
Lydia Baxter would hit two big-time free throws after grabbing the offensive board to bring the Kats to within three with 33 seconds left, but Marina Lily would hit a free throw on the other end to stretch the Colonel lead back to four. Oramas would go on to can a triple from deep to make it a one-point Colonel advantage with 24 ticks remaining. On the ensuing Colonel inbound the Kats fouled Barrios and she went on to can both attempts from the line to stretch the lead back to three.
On the next Bearkat possession they would commit a turnover and be forced to foul Williams as she would go on to can both attempts to push the Colonel’s lead to 70-65. The Kats just didn’t have enough time left as they couldn’t hit another triple as time expired. The Colonels owned the Bearkats in the paint outscoring Sam Houston 32-14, Sam Houston’s bench did their part outscoring the Colonel’s second squad 29-3. The Kats hit 11 threes compared to the Colonels seven, but couldn’t overcome their 18 turnovers.