HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State accomplished what it needed in the final tune-up before the regular season begins on Friday.

Thirteen different Bearkats saw action, while Kiera McKinney used a breakout performance, leading the squad to a 76-61 exhibition victory against LSU Alexandria on Sunday afternoon at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The game, presented by Huntsville Memorial Hospital, helped raised funds for hurricane relief.

McKinney posted a game-high 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting in 26 minutes of action. The Southland Conference leader in blocks a season ago provided a pair of swats. The sophomore was one of four Kats in double figures and was joined by Kevyn Ferriera (13), Jenniffer Oramas (10) and Ashleigh Cooper (10).

The Kats, who shot 46 percent from the field, closed out the half on a 7-0 run, building up an eight-point lead while shooting 56 percent in the second quarter. The team received its best stretch in the fourth quarter, shooting 64 percent in the frame.

Sam Houston won the rebound margin, 40-29, helped by a team-best nine from Anastacia Mickens. Oramas led the Bearkats, who open the regular season on Friday at Arkansas, with five assists. The Kats and Razorbacks tip off at 10:30 a.m. from Fayetteville, Ark.

Despite 27 turnovers, Sam Houston was able to force 30 from the Generals, who were playing their third exhibition of the season. LSUA shot 50 percent (9 of 18) from behind the arc while the Kats drained 31 percent (5 of 16) including a trio from Ferriera.

SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
Season tickets for Sam Houston State Bearkat basketball are on sale now, with ticket packages available for fans prior to the season starting. Fans will have the option to choose from four ticket packages, starting at $99 for general admission. This covers admission to all 26 total games, including 11 men’s games, 11 women’s games and four doubleheader dates.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Bearkat Ticket Office at (936) 294-1729 or by purchasing online HERE.

QUOTEABLES:
Opening thoughts from head coach Brenda Nichols…
“All along, we have been telling our kids we’re under construction. If we can keep getting better every day, improving on what we do … team’s win championship. That’s what we have been stressing. We’ve been doing that every day, from practicing at 6 a.m. to running at 5 a.m. Everything we have been doing is to pave the way and build a foundation. I was impressed with the whole team from the bench to coaches to the on-court play. We made some turnovers and we know that. We didn’t do a very good job executing everything but this is an amazing start. To come out here and work together as a team with the new kids … those new kids were the tools we didn’t have. We have everything we need right now. We just need to put it all together.”

Head coach Brenda Nichols on competing in an exhibition…
“LSUA has had three exhibitions so their nerves weren’t there. We played one scrimmage but it still wasn’t a game with fans in the stands. There are some kids who still need to calm down and slow down. We can take a lot from this. I know it doesn’t count but it’s a win on our court. To these players, they are 1-0 right now. We have seven home games coming up, that’s huge for our team.”

Head coach Brenda Nichols on the performance from Kiera McKinney
“I think Kiera needed to get more physical and that’s something we have been working on. You have to be physical underneath. What people don’t realize is that her shot is so finesse. She can hit the elbow jumper and the short corner. Her games has changed. This year, she knows she has to get in there and board. She’s a warrior. Everyone has to change. Last year doesn’t matter.”

Jenniffer Oramas on being back out and facing competition…
“It was nice, especially playing in front of fans and getting our jitters out. Right when we started playing we were a bit nervous but we got the hang of it. We played together as a team. I know a lot of people got in double-digits. We were communicating on the course and hustling.”

Kevyn Ferriera on her Sam Houston debut and the experience…
“Whenever I walked into the locker room and saw my jersey hanging up, I felt like I achieved a big personal goal of mine. Whenever I got here, it was heartfelt. Whenever I was on the court, I took it on more of a personal level. It was very humbling for me.”

Kiera McKinney on her performance and the team’s win…
“I just wanted to open this game hard since it was our first game and last year we struggled opening up. We really wanted this win. I wanted to leave it all out on the court. My parents were here and they don’t get to come down a lot. I wanted to give it all.”

Anastacia Mickens on competing in her first appearance as a Bearkat…
“It felt amazing to be out there. I’m a freshman so it was an experience to see how a college game is. I want to give my all. I feel like I can rebound and help my team. We have to work together every play.”