Northern Iowa 78 Sam Houston 69 Huntsville -- Northern Iowa advanced to the final four of the 2012 Women's Basketball Invitational Saturday with a 78-69 victory over Sam Houston State at Johnson Coliseum.
K. K. Armstrong scored 30 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and assisted on 10 other baskets to lead the Panthers. Katelin Oney scored 20 points and Rachel Madrigal added 12.
Sam Houston was led by Britni Martin with 19 points. Sequeena Thomas scored 13 points. Angela Beadle and Chanice Smith each scored 11 points. Smith led the Kats with 10 rebounds.
Sam Houston led by as many as nine points in the first half and held a 36-32 advantage at intermission. But the Panthers outscored the Bearkats 46-33 in the second period.
"It was tough to see the season end but these two post-season games in the WBI have been a great experience for our girls and will help us to excel next season," SHSU head coach Brenda Nicholls said. "Give Northern Iowa a lot of credit. Their a good team with tremendous senior leadership. They came up with some big plays in the second half."
The Bearkats' last four point lead came after a free throw by Smith to put SHSU up 45-41 with 15:41 to play. The Panthers out-scored Sam Houston 37-24 the rest of the way.
After a hot first half in which the Kats shot 43.8 percent from the floor, Sam Houston went cold in the final 15 minutes. The Bearkats hit onlly eight of their final 29 shots, going 1-for-10 from three point range. Meanwhile, UNI surged ahead with a 20-13 run to go up by 13, 71-58, with 3:10 to play. The Panthers ended shooting 51.6 percent (16-of-31) in the second half.
Sam Houston ended the season with an 18-12 record. Their 35 victories over the past two seasons is the most by any women's team in a two year period in the program's 25 years in the Southland Conference.