ABILENE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats picked up a statement win on Saturday, leading nearly the entire way in a 72-63 win over Abilene Christian at Moody Coliseum.
The Bearkats (12-9, 7-4 SLC) avenged a league-opening loss to the Wildcats (14-8, 7-4 SLC) in Huntsville in a game that had Jaylonn Walker lead the way with 15 points, doing most of her damage late in the game on 8-for-10 at the foul line.
Rachel Harrell delivered 10 big points off the bench, all in the second half, and the Kats led for 26:12 of the game’s 40 minutes. Jenniffer Oramas also had 10 points and five assists in 35 minutes off the bench, while Lydia Baxter had eight points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six steals.
The Kats would finish 21-for-27 from the stripe in the game and turned the ball over just 16 times in the game – four in the second half – in an effort that was just one off its season best.
ACU’s Breanna Wright led all players with 21 points for the Wildcats.
- The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Bearkats in the series with ACU and the first win since 2015, which was also the last time the Kats won in Abilene.
- The win pulled the Kats even with ACU in the Southland standings, and just a half-game back of Nicholls for third place in the league.
- Rachel Harrell hit two of the Bearkats’ two 3-pointers, giving her 98 for her career and moving her past Kelly Kramer for sole possession of ninth all-time at SHSU.
- Lydia Baxter picked off six steals for the game, setting a new career high. It is the 13th time this season she has had a game with multiple steals and the fourth time she has had at least four in a game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The first 16 total points of the game were scored in the paint until La’Sha Haynes drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to bring the Kats to within 10-9 midway through the first quarter. It was her first 3-point try, and make, of the season.
- SHSU committed eight turnovers in the opening quarter, but used a 7-2 run to hold a brief 11-10 lead with less than two minutes to go on Walker’s first score of the game.
- Baxter had just one bucket, but hauled in six rebounds in the first quarter.
- ACU led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, but the Kats responded to take a 29-26 lead into the break.
- The Sam Houston defense held the Wildcats, who entered the game making more than seven 3-point buckets per game, without a 3-pointer on nine tries in the half. ACU’s Breanna Wright had a dozen points in the half, but no other player had more than Lexie Ducat’s six.
- Seven Kats reached the scoring column, led by Amber Leggett’s six points. Sam Houston took the lead on a Jenniffer Oramas jumper midway through the second quarter and eventually built it up to as much as 29-24 on a 15-foot jumper from Kiera McKinney with less than a minute to go.
- After missing their first nine 3-pointers of the game, Breanna Wright hit the first of the game for ACU in the first minute of the third quarter to tie it up at 31-31.
- Things were all tied up at 35-35 before the Kats reeled off a 10-0 run in less than two minutes to take a 45-35 lead. That run ended in back-to-back scores from Rachel Harrell, including a 3-pointer on her first field goal try of the game.
- The Kats would then go nearly four minutes without a field goal while ACU cut the lead down to just two points on a 3-pointer from Madi Miller; however, Harrell answered with her second 3-pointer of the quarter on the next possession, moving into sole possession of ninth all-time at SHSU with her 98th career triple.
- Sam Houston led 52-45 at the end of the third quarter …
- ACU quickly cut the Bearkat lead down to just five early in the fourth quarter before the Kats responded with a quick 7-2 spurt that ended in a steal and layup from Haynes that pushed the SHSU lead back to double figures at the final media timeout.
The Kats will look to avenge another of its SLC losses on Wednesday when it returns home to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The game is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Johnson Coliseum and will be aired on ESPN+.