The LadyKats ended their six-game losing streak by defeating the Northwestern State Lady Demons 77-69 in overtime.
The victory came only two days after a heart-wrenching loss to Louisiana-Monroe Thursday, where the LadyKats shot 28 percent from the floor to fall to the Lady Indians 60-50.
The Kats stepped up their shooting in Saturday’s game, hitting 50 percent of their shots from the floor and going four for five in overtime.
“That was the kids getting themselves prepared mentally to play the game,” said Sam Houston coach Erika Ritter. “They made shots you need to make to win the game.”
Freshman guard Stephanie Trachier, “Southland Conference Player of the Week,” believes that the shooting improvements have come because of better opportunities.
“We just came out more focused,” said Trachier. “We just worked together as a team to get each other some good looks.”
Regulation ended in Saturday’s game with the score tied at 62 after Northwestern State guard Diamond Cosby hit a layup with 40 seconds left. The final seconds ticked away in regulation and the two teams were headed for overtime.
Once the overtime period started, it was the LadyKats’ game. The Kats went on a seven-point run to take a commanding lead over their heavily favored opponents. Trachier, junior guard Kelley Kramer, freshman forward Katrina Barclay and senior forward Alice Johnson combined for 15 points in the overtime period.
Also contributing heavily to the LadyKats’ win over Northwestern State was sophomore guard Crystal Jackson. Jackson fell badly jumping for a rebound in Thursday’s game and hurt her knee. She managed to deal with the pain and come back to play, and was at the top of her game when Saturday came around. Jackson got a double-double with 16 rebounds and 10 assists. She also scored nine points.
“Crystal Jackson came to play,” said Ritter. “I’m not taking any credit away from Crystal, because Crystal was honing in on the ball. But it helps when your teammates are boxing everyone out and then she could just go in and grab it. And Crystal was putting herself in position to get the rebounds.”
“It’s still hurting,” said Jackson about Thursday’s injury. “But I have to play through the pain, as far as my team goes.”
Five LadyKats came away from Saturday’s game with double-digit scoring. Trachier led the Kats with 16 points, Johnson had 14, Kramer and freshman guard Brett Heitmiller each had 12 and Barclay had 11.
Thursday’s game against the Louisiana-Monroe Lady Indians didn’t leave such a good taste in the mouths of the LadyKats.
The Kats closed out the first half with a surge of momentum, outscoring the Lady Indians 15-4 to bring the score down to a two-point deficit, 29-27.
But, like at the beginning of the first half, the LadyKats just didn’t have it once the buzzer sounded to begin play in the second.
“I don’t think we were ready to play tonight,” Ritter said following Thursday’s loss. “Not when you turn the ball over as many times as we did in the first five minutes of the game. And we couldn’t compensate those turnovers with scoring, because nothing was going in.”
However, one LadyKat was able to find the bottom of the net, as Trachier led the team in scoring, netting half of her team’s points by getting 24 on her own.
“I’m at my best when I can attack the basket, and most teams don’t allow me to do that,” Trachier said. “This team left it open for me, so I just took what they gave me.”
“I think we’re getting better every game. I think we’re getting our rotations down,” Ritter said. “Having Brett back has really helped our guard rotation. We’re also able to put Kelley at post at times.”
The LadyKats will travel to Beaumont Thursday to meet Lamar.