Women’s basketball sees post-season hopes grow slim

It was a week Sam Houston State womens basketball coach Erika Ritter wont soon forget.It started when she gave birth to a baby girl, Kirby Ritter, at 2:42 p.m. Tuesday at Huntsville Memorial Hospital. It ended with disappointment.The Lady Kats dropped two games last week, beginning with a 68-50 loss to UT-San Antonio Thursday night in Johnson Coliseum. It didnt get any better on Saturday as Sam Houston lost a pivotal game to Southwest Texas 62-58. A win over the Lady Bobcats would have almost ensured a spot in the conference tournament for the Lady Kats. Now Sam Houstons chances are slim for post-season play. With one game remaininga must-win matchup against Lamar this Saturday on the roadSam Houston stands ninth place in the conference with a 5-14 record. The top eight teams qualify for the tournament. The Lady Kats must win this weekend and get some help from Southwest Texas, which stands a half a game in front of Sam Houston. UT-San Antonio got 23 points from Renda Churman and 19 from Nikki Foster as it defeated Sam Houston by 18 on Thursday. Assistant coach Deidre Hinze took over for Ritter and saw her troops fall behind 39-26 at halftime as a result of 63 percent shooting from the Lady Roadrunners from the field.The closest the Lady Kats could get was 13 points with 3:35 left in the game. Stacy Allen led Sam Houston with 20 points and Brenda Abakwue added 17.It looked like things were going to turn around on Saturday in Ritters return to the bench as the Lady Kats came back from a small deficit to take a 51-46 lead over Southwest Texas with 10:50 left in the game.Southwest Texas tied the game at 57-57 when Brooke Hogue nailed a three-pointer with 2:38 remaining. Kendall Arants free throw for the Lady Bobcats gave them a one-point lead with two minutes left. After SHSUs Olivia Villanueva missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity 16 seconds later, Hogue made a layup to extend her teams lead to three at 60-57 with 1:20 left.A comeback would fall short as Abakwue missed 2-of-3 free throws down the stretch. The Lady Kats shot poorly, only hitting 33 percent from the field and only making 11-of-20 free throws.You cant win a game if you shoot 33 percent at home and 55 percent from the free-throw line, Ritter said. If we had just made four more free-throws it would have been overtime. Our shooting percentage is killing us, just like it has all year.Another thing that killed Sam Houston was a failure to convert on scoring opportunities. Even though both teams tied with 23 offensive boards, Southwest Texas outscored the Lady Kats 15-4 in second-chance points.That was the difference in the game, letting them have the offensive boards and second-chance points, Ritter said. We did not have enough patience on the offensive end at the end of the game, and we missed some shots that we shouldve made in the paint.The game was the last for seniors Abakwue and Villlanueva at Johnson Coliseum. In their farewell performances, Abakwue recorded 20 points and 16 rebounds. Villanueva pitched in with 8 points and five rebounds.

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