HUNTSVILLE- Stephen F. Austin used a big second half to handle Sam Houston State in the hardwood edition of the Battle of the Piney Woods 72-49 Saturday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum.
Despite trailing by only seven at half, Sam Houston (4-23, 1-17 SLC) was outscored by Stephen F. Austin (24-5, 16-2 SLC) 36-20 in the final half as the Ladyjacks powered past the Kats.
Lydia Baxter led the Kats in the scoring column with 16 points off of 6-10 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Rachel Harrell was the next leading scorer for the Kats with eight points thanks to two triples in the final minutes of the first half. Six other Bearkats scored on the night with none of them eclipsing six points.
Chanell Hayes scored a team-high 18 points as all 11 Ladyjacks who saw playing time scored on the afternoon. Stevi Parker was the only other Ladyjack in double figures with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
The Ladyjacks were on a mission in the first quarter as they scored five quick points within the first 48 seconds of the game. Angela Delaney would get the Kats on the board with a triple shortly after, but the Kats wouldn’t score again until Kiera McKinney layup midway through the quarter snapped a 10-0 SFA run as Sam Houston found themselves down 15-5.
The Bearkats locked in and went blow for blow with the Ladyjacks for the remainder of the first period as a Jenniffer Oramas jumper would bring the Kats to within six with 90 seconds remaining, but SFA stretched their lead back to double digits thanks to a buzzer-beater triple.
It took 90 seconds for either side to score in the second period before Baxter got the Kats on the board with a layup to bring them within eight. But SFA answered and scored six unanswered over the next three minutes to push their lead to 31-17.
The Kats answered right back with six straight points of their own to bring the game back to single digits at 31-23. The Ladyjacks didn’t let it stay that way for long as Stevi Parker would can a triple from the corner to push the SFA advantage to 11 but Harrell answered back with back-to-back triples of her own to keep the Kats within striking distance down 36-29 going into the halftime break
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
The Ladyjacks used a 8-1 run over the first five minutes of the third period to stretch their lead all the way to 14 midway through the third period with the only Bearkat point coming off of a Baxter freebie. The Bearkats finally got their first field goal of the second half with 3:47 remaining in the third off a Harrell tip-in, but that proved to be the only field goal in the quarter as the Ladyjacks outscored the Kats 16-3 in the third period to push their lead to 52-32 going into the final period.
Baxter got the Kats on the board a snapped the cold spell for Sam Houston to begin the final period, but SFA continued to pour it in on the offensive side of the ball as they stretched their lead all the way to 25 with 6:47 left after a Chanell Hayes triple. Sam Houston would score four quick points in response, but the Ladyjacks answered right back and didn’t let the Kats chip into the lead at all throughout the final minutes as SFA picked up the 23-point victory.
SFA took advantage of the Kats turnovers as they converted the 17 Sam Houston turnovers into 24 points. The Ladyjacks also out-muscled the Kats in the paint scoring 36 points in the paint compared to Sam Houston’s 26.