HUNTSVILLE – Amber Leggett started the first period strong with 13 of the first 19 points for the Sam Houston State Bearkats, but a second quarter 20-4 run by the Lamar Cardinals proved too much to overcome as they fell 81-60, Saturday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum.
Sam Houston (9-8, 4-3 SLC) kept the score close for the majority of the first half and had things tied up at 33-33 before the Cardinals (14-4, 7-0 SLC) closed strong to take a 44-33 lead into the break on the strength of 18 forced turnovers that resulted in 26 LU points.
Leggett led the Bearkats with a career- high 29 points, the most by a Bearkat since Shernise Roberston’s 30 against McNeese three years ago. The freshman also collected nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals. Dominique Maxwell had 11 points of her own and eight rebounds.
Moe Kinard of Lamar matched Leggett with 29 points along with five rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Leggett started hot for the Bearkats scoring 13 points in the first quarter, going 6-for-6 from the field. She helped Kats on the defensive end with two blocks, including one which set up Jaylonn Walker on a fast break bucket. Neither team could establish a firm lead and the score was tied, 19-19, at the end of the quarter despite the Bearkats hitting eight of their 14 shots from the field.
The Kats carried that hot shooting over into the second quarter, opening up on a 10-3 run that was capped by three straight buckets by Maxwell and pushed the SHSU lead to 29-22 less than four minutes into the period.
But a LU timeout calmed the waters and after the Kats had it still tied up at 33-33, the Cardinals exploded for 11 straight points to end the half, forcing four of their 18 turnovers in the half in that 2:46 span to go into the break up 44-33.
Kiera McKinney gave the Kats a spark in the third quarter scoring on back-to-back offensive possessions, but the Cardinals only built their lead after the break, hitting eight of their 13 tries from the field to enter the final 10 minutes up 67-46.
Sam Houston tried to make it interesting in the final period behind 10 more points from Leggett and a defense that forced 11 turnovers. Despite trailing by 21 entering the period, they were able to trim down the lead in half with three minutes to play, and eventually into single digits at 80-72 before the Cardinals were able to run out the clock.
The Kats will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday night when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN+.