Keeping playoff hopes ignited, the Sam Houston State women’s basketball team won 63-57 over McNeese State, Saturday evening at Johnson Coliseum.
The McNeese Cowgirls (10-14, 4-9 SLC) now stand tied with SHSU (9-15, 4-9 SLC) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Southland Conference tournament.
Saturday’s game remained close, with multiple ties and lead changes, until Kendall Homesley hit a three pointer near the 10-minute mark of the first half.
On the following possessions, Britney Harris would hit back-to-back treys to make the score 16-9. The Kats led the rest of the half, despite being out shot 37.5 percent to 44.4 percent.
To start the second half, SHSU went on a 13-7 run to extend their lead to 14 points with 15 minutes left.
Though they could never retake the lead, the Cowgirls would threaten to for the rest of the game.
McNeese’s Regina Spivey dunked it to cut the lead to six with 8:34 left and the score at 54-48.
The Cowgirls would then go on a 7-1 run, capped by a lay up from McNeese’s Shamika Stewart, to tie the game at 55 with three minutes left in regulation. The final three minutes were riddled with turnovers and fouls by McNeese. Seven clutch free throws in the final minutes were the difference for the Kats, who shot 73 percent from the line.
For the game, the Kats were out rebounded 25-29 and out shot 38 percent to 48 percent. The team did shoot well from three point land, posting 47 percent (7-15). The defense was productive, scoring 17 points off of Cowgirl turnovers.
Britney Harris had a game-high 18 points coming off the bench to lead SHSU to victory. Harris, a sophomore, also managed to get to the free throw line 12 times, more than the entire McNeese roster. Harris added four rebounds.
Clarissa Clark led the Cowgirls with 13 points and 57 percent shooting, also going 3-6 from long distance.
The win was especially important for Sam Houston State, who lost 51-46 at home to Lamar last Thursday.
Saturday’s game was a true must-win situation, and SHSU rose to the occasion.
The remaining schedule for the Kats will make a tough road to the playoffs. Saturday, the Kats will travel to San Antonio to play UTSA (14-10, 9-4 SLC).
The following Wednesday is a home game against Texas-Arlington (16-7, 10-2 SLC), followed by an away match with rival Stephen F. Austin (16-7, 10-2 SLC). These are the top three teams in the SLC.