Junior forwards Britni Martin and Sequeena Thomas combined for 39 points and 22 rebounds to lead Sam Houston to an 80-64 Southland Conference women's basketball victory Wednesday night.
Martin scored 24 points, grabbed five rebounds and assisted on five other baskets to lead Sam Houston (14-10, 9-4). Thomas totaled 15 points and 17 boards.
Northwestern State (5-21, 1-12) was led by Jordi James with 18 points. The Demons and Bearkats traded leads six times early in the second half. Northwestern State's last lead was 21-20 with 10 minutes remaining after a pair of free throws.
Sam Houston charged ahead, ending the first half with a 29-14 run to lead 49-35 at intermission. The Kats led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Playing against a Northwestern State team with only one conference win, Sam Houston had its way offensively Wednesday night, making 7-of-11 3-pointers.Six of those 3s came from the team's leading scorer Britni Martin, who finished with 24 points.
Even though it was a lopsided game in Sam Houston's favor, the speed of the game was up-tempo, which may have had something to do with the turnovers.
"I feel like we had so many turnovers because we played such a fast-paced game," said Martin, who also had a game-high eight turnovers. "We normally don't play that fast, so it was a good change playing that fast and that's how other teams are going to play.
"We obviously did pretty well with it, scoring 80 points. I think we just have to get used to it a little more."
Northwestern State took a one-point lead midway through the first half on free throws by point guard Tiandra Williams. Then Sam Houston went on an 18-4 run to gain separation.
Freshman post Jazmin Wiley and junior Sequeena Thomas anchored the run with scoring and rebounding.
The score was 49-35 at halftime and it didn't get much closer from there.
Martin went into the break with 16 points, Wiley scored 11 points and Thomas had 11 rebounds.
But that was just the first half. Thomas finished with 15 points and 17 boards.
Defense and rebounding is going to be the most important part of Sam Houston's game as the West Division co-leaders head into the postseason.
If Wednesday night was any indication of how well the Kats will perform in those areas, they should have some success.
Sam Houston held Northwestern State to just 34 percent shooting from the field and won the rebounding battle as well, 48-31.
"Rebounding is our Achilles," freshman center Angela Beadle said. "If we own the boards, we pretty much seal the game. That's how we look at it."
Martin said defense is going to be the most important aspect of the late stretch.
"That and rebounding," Martin added. "As long as we lock down. We can do it as y'all saw against Corpus when we held them to 19 points in the second half. That's what we need to focus on, playing a full 40-minute game of our defense."
There were times when the Kats struggled to put Northwestern away because of defensive lapses, but Sam Houston's offense was just about unstoppable.
Each team had four players score in double figures.
Aside from Martin, Thomas and Wiley, guard Jasmine Johnson also reached double digits with 10 points and added a game-high eight assists as well.
Northwestern State was led by Jordi James' 23 points. Trudy Armstead scored 14, Jasmine Upchurch had 13 points and Meredith Graf added 11.
The Kats' remaining schedule features road games against Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and Texas State, all of which are likely to be tournament teams.
"Those are not going to be easy wins," Beadle said. "They are definitely going to test us on defense. Lamar has some big kids. SFA's posts are all fast. Texas State has a big girl and some shooters.
"It's definitely going to be tough and we're going to have to earn it."