Wednesday, Jan. 9 • Huntsville • 6:30 p.m. • Johnson Coliseum (6,100)
Sam Houston State (5-6, 0-1 Southland) vs Central Arkansas (5-7, 0-2 Southland)
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HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats will look to put an end to a three-game losing skid and pick up their first conference win of the season on Wednesday when they host Central Arkansas at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The game is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum and can be watched on the Bearkat Sports Network YouTube channel. Fans can follow along via live stats, or get updates by following @BearkatsWBB on Twitter.
Sam Houston kicked off SLC play on Saturday, falling by 12 to Abilene Christian despite three players finishing in double figures. Still, the Kats have an opportunity to get back to .500 early in league play against the Sugar Bears, who come in sporting just a 5-7 mark and with a pair of defeats vs the SLC.
Jaylonn Walker continues to provide the Kats with punch on both the offensive and defensive ends, reaching double figures in scoring in each of her last 10 games and ranking fourth in the league with 15.9 points and third with 2.9 steals per game.
As a team the Bearkats lead the SLC, hitting 44.0 percent of their shots from the floor and are averaging 73.5 points per game, a mark that is more than 17 points per game ahead of last year’s average.
Along with Walker, Jenniffer Oramas (12.0 ppg) and Amber Leggett (11.1 ppg) are each averaging in double figures while senior post Lydia Baxter has posted a double-double in four of her last five outings. That firepower could pose issues for a Sugar Bear team that has won each of its last 10 in the series with Sam Houston.
UCA sits at 0-2 in the SLC after narrow losses to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and at Southeastern Louisiana, and is averaging just 58.5 points per contest. Still, coach Sandra Rushing’s team is holding teams to just 55.4 points per game, which is the top scoring defense in the SLC.
Kamry Orr leads the charge for UCA with 13.3 points per game, and has been off to a good start in league play, averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds in each of her first two SLC contests.
SERIES vs CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Central Arkansas has been a tough hurdle for the Bearkats to get over since the Sugar Bears joined the Southland Conference for the 2006-07 season. UCA have won 14 of 18 all-time meetings, including each of the last 10. The last Bearkat win in the series came on Jan. 17, 2013 in Huntsville. The Kats are 0-9 all-time in Conway.
TAKEAWAYS FROM 91-79 LOSS vs ABILENE CHRISTIAN
- The Bearkats allowed 91 points to the Wildcats in the team’s Southland Conference opener, the most points allowed by the Sam Houston defense this year. Prior to Saturday, the 84 points by Troy was the most scored against the Kats.
- Lydia Baxter finished with her fourth double-double of the season, going for 18 points and 10 rebounds against ACU. She did the bulk of her offensive work at the foul line, hitting 12 of 20 shots from the charity stripe. The 20 free throw attempts set a new SHSU single-game record, surpassing the old record of 19 tries by Sherry Pfister against Southwest Texas in the 1981-82 season.
- In all the Kats finished just 23-for-38 at the charity stripe, while ACU went 21-for-27 in a game that was marred by 58 combined personal fouls. Six total players fouled out of the game, including four from ACU.
- SHSU’s bench outscored the ACU reserves by a 21-6 margin, with most of that coming from freshman Amber Leggett who hit 8-for-9 from the field and went for 19 points to lead three Kats in double figures. For ACU, 83 of their 91 points were scored by the quartet of Dominque Golightly, Sara Williamson, Breanna Wright and Makayla Mabry.