HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State set the tone early against Houston Baptist and made the plays it needed down the stretch to defeat the Huskies, 78-63 on Saturday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum.
Angela Delaney registered a career-high 19 points while adding three 3-pointers and the Bearkats set a season-high for points, besting their previous mark of 68 in a win against Southeastern Louisiana. Helping its cause, Sam Houston turned the ball over a season-low 10 times.
Jenniffer Oramas posted her eighth double-digit scoring performance, finishing with 14 while teammate Tia Harston totaled 11 points including a team-high six made free throws.
Sam Houston (2-20, 2-10 Southland) looks to make it two straight and register its first road win on Wednesday when the squad travels to Central Arkansas. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. against the Bears.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sam Houston State raced out to its highest scoring quarter of the season in the opening frame. The Bearkats began play on a 10-0 run and created its largest lead of the season at 14 points at the end of the first quarter on a pair of Harston free throws.
The Bearkats hit consecutive 3-pointers to begin the game, setting the tone for an afternoon in which they would tally seven total, one off a season high.
Sam Houston scored the first four points of the second quarter and closed the frame in style as Angela Delaney made a pair of free throws after being fouled on a half-court heave with .5 seconds to play.
Sam Houston shot 51 percent in the opening half, including 66 percent in the first quarter in route to 42 first-half points – the most of the season. The Kats limited the Huskies (5-17, 3-9 SLC) to 30 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes including just 1-of-7 from behind the arc.
The Bearkats upped their lead to 20 points on a pair of occasions in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer from Oramas to begin scoring. The Huskies used a 7-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Sophie Taylor to trim the deficit to 13 points with 2:54 in the frame.
Delaney and Rachel Harrell would provide an answer, however, hitting back-to-back from downtown, helping Sam Houston to an eventual 17-point advantage entering the final frame.
HBU drained consecutive 3-pointers to begin the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 11 points, the Kats smallest advantage since leading by 10 points with 1:44 to play in the first. The Huskies would hit another, using a 9-1 run to bring the lead to single-digits with under 7 minutes to play.
Ashleigh Cooper snapped the run, knocking down a jumper and drawing the foul with 5:23 remaining. The Bearkats next two possessions included a pair of free throws with Lydia Baxter and Tia Harston combining to hit 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, pushing the lead back to 14 points.
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on the victory…
“This was a really big game for us. They did exactly what we asked them to do. I kind of changed the game plan up this morning. We put that right in at the start of practice. The girls bought in. That good instinct this morning worked out.”
Head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols on the lack of turnovers…
“I was very excited about only having 10 turnovers. We had more assists than turnovers and that is a credit to the guards and to our post players that we ran inside and out.”
Junior guard Angela Delaney on rebounding from the early-season loss vs. HBU…
“That first game we didn’t play in the third quarter and that hurt us a lot. This game we played all four quarters. That opening start helped us a lot. Any time a team goes up 10-0, that game is yours. It has to be.”
Freshman guard Jenniffer Oramas on the game…
“Everyone did what we were supposed to do. It made it that much easier by getting off to that big start. I think we showed our mental toughness.”