HUNTSVILLE – Joyce Kennerson put Texas Southern’s offense on her back. Sam Houston State had no answer for the junior guard on Wednesday night at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The Bearkats were limited to four first quarter points and turnover over the ball a season-high 25 times in a 77-58 loss. Kennerson finished with 35 points behind 13 of 18 shooting. It marked the first time a non-conference opposing player had scored 30 points against the Kats since Nov. 30, 2013.
Texas Southern (2-4) never trailed and used 12-straight points from Kennerson, including a pair of 3-pointers, to close the first quarter. The 12-0 run stretched the Tigers lead to 16 points while the Kats (1-3) were held to 1-of-13 from the field in the period.
Sam Houston used 3-pointers in the second quarter, courtesy of Akarian Morgan and Tia Harston to trim the deficit to 13 on a pair of occasions but could not draw any closer. The trey from Morgan with 9:16 in the frame snapped a scoreless streak of 6:50.
The Bearkats were 7-of-11 from the field in the second quarter, shooting 63 percent, but could not continue the momentum after the half. The squad was outscored by seven in the third quarter, shooting 23 percent to the Tigers’ 54 percent mark.
Rachel Harrell ran her streak to five-straight games with a 3-pointer, coming with 6:17 in the fourth, and Jenniffer Oramas converted a 3-point play, the old fashion way, as part of a 14-0 over 2:38. Harrell drained another trey with 3:41 remaining.
The Kats outscored the Tigers, 16-2 over 3:24 down the stretch and out-scored Texas Southern, 24-17 during the fourth quarter. Lydia Baxter led Sam Houston with 10 points for her sixth-career double-digit output and first of the season. Harrell totaled nine with all three makes coming from behind the arc.
Sam Houston returns to action on Saturday, hosting St. Thomas at 11 a.m. The game will be the fourth in the Kats’ season-long five-game homestand and be the first meeting between the two in-state programs. Tickets are on sale by visiting GoBearkats.com.
Head coach Brenda Nichols on the loss…
“This is an NCAA Tournament team from last year. They are really good and have returned most of their players. We knew that coming in. We can’t come out and shoot 7 percent from the get-go. They are a really good team. I thought we boarded really well but our turnovers were our defeat. We just didn’t take care of the ball. This game is on me. I thought we were ready. There are no excuses. I thought we played better in the fourth quarter. We got out of our game plan with those turnovers. That is something we have to correct.”
Head coach Brenda Nichols on re-grouping heading into Saturday…
“We need to re-adjust. We need to have a good practice on Friday and come ready to play on Saturday. We out-rebounded them. That’s one thing we wanted to do that we hadn’t been doing lately. There were some positives in there. We really started playing well in the fourth. We need to carry that on and move forward.”