HOUSTON- Despite committing a season-low seven turnovers Sam Houston’s comeback bid ended up just short in overtime 65-62 to Houston Baptist Saturday afternoon at Sharp Gym.
Houston Baptist (8-16, 4-10 SLC) was powered by three players scoring in the double digits to edge Sam Houston State (4-20, 1-14 SLC) their seventh single-digit conference loss of the season.
Houston Baptist was powered by the trio of Shannon Jones, Amanda Johnson and Megan Valdez-Crater. Jones had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies while Johnson added 15 points for Houston Baptist. Valdez-Crater scored 14 points to go along with her four assists on 4-5 shooting.
The Bearkats will play their final Southland road game when they take on New Orleans and league-leading scorer Randi Brown at Lakefront Arena on February 21.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Kiera McKinney got things going for the Kats against the Huskies as she drained the contested elbow jumper. That proved to be the start of a back-and-forth opening period with both squads responding to each made basket. Baxter would tie the game at 13 with 52 ticks remaining in the first period, but Britta Daub would have the final laugh in the opening quarter as she drilled the deep triple at the buzzer to give the Huskies the biggest lead of the quarter at 16-13.
The Huskies jumped on the Kats to start the second quarter as they stretched their lead all the way to a first-half high nine points at 22-13 with 6:27 remaining after a 6-0 run to start the quarter. Baxter snapped the Huskies quarter-opening streak with a nice put back off the offensive rebound with 6:09 remaining before the break.
Nearly two minutes later the Kats needed only five seconds to score five points to pull within two with 3:47 remaining before the halftime break after two Dominique Maxwell freebies and a Rachel Harrell triple after Jenniffer Oramas stole the Husky inbound. Baxter would the split her trip to the line to make it a one-point contest with 2:43 remaining, but the Huskies responded with an Amanda Johnson triple to push the lead back to four points.
Oramas would then go on to drain the stepback jumper to give us the halftime score with the Huskies holding the two-point advantage 27-25. The Bearkats took care of the ball in the first half as they only committed three first half turnovers compared to forcing nine Husky turnovers. However, Houston Baptist outshot the Kats from the field at a 38.5 percent clip compared to Sam Houston’s 26.3 percent clip.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
The Kats wasted no time getting on the board to begin the second half as Baxter continued to show her post presence to tie the game at 27. But the Huskies responded in a big way with a 12-3 run over the next five minutes to own a 39-30 lead halfway through the third period.
The Huskies weren’t done as they stretched their lead to double digits after a three-point play by Houston Baptist’s Shannon Jones to give the Huskies the 42-31 advantage with four minutes remaining in the third. Baxter and Harrell would then go combine to score the final 12 points of the third period to bring the Kats to within nine before the final period.
The Bearkats used a 7-2 run to open the final period to pull within four after Dominique Maxwell completed a three-point play with 6:25 remaining in the contest. After the Houston Baptist stretched their lead back to seven Oramas knocked down the deep triple to make the score 57-53 in favor of Houston Baptist with 3:43 remaining.
Sam Houston would shave the lead down to one after an Oramas freebie and McKinney jumper from the corner with 2:53 left. The Huskies would convert on a layup on their next trip down to stretch the lead back to three, but Harrell would tie the game at 59 with the triple at 2:09. Harrell’s triple proved to be the last points for either side as the Bearkats couldn’t get the buzzer-beater to fall despite forcing a HBU five second violation with 29 ticks remaining.
Both teams combined for nine points in the overtime period with Houston Baptist scoring the first three points to own a 62-59 lead with 2:51 remaining after a ball was tipped in by a Sam Houston player. The Bearkats didn’t score until 90 seconds were left in overtime when Harrell canned the clutch triple from the corner after saving the ball to tie the game at 62.
Houston Baptist immediately answered on the ensuing possession with a lay-up to take a 64-62 lead with 1:12 remaining. After a missed shot the Bearkats defense stiffened up and Harrell got the big-time block for the Kats to give them possession with 25 seconds left. Despite the Bearkats taking care of the ball well all game a costly seventh turnover on the potential game-tying field goal proved to be too much for the Kats to overcome as the Huskies would push their lead to three after splitting their free throws.
Sam Houston’s last-second shot fell just short as time expired as they couldn’t complete the comeback. The Huskies owned the slight advantage over Sam Houston in the paint 28-20, but the Kats capitalized on the 17 Husky turnovers to score 19 points off turnovers. However, Houston Baptist shot the ball at a solid 36.2 percent clip compared to Sam Houston’s 29.6 percent clip.