After opening Southland Conference play with a pair of close losses, the Sam Houston State women’s basketball takes to the road this weekend playing McNeese State Thursday night at Lake Charles, LA, and Lamar Saturday in Beaumont.
The Bearkat women lost to Southland Conference East Division favorite Southeastern Louisiana 63-53 on Thursday then fell in overtime to Nicholls State 82-78 Saturday.
“The effort and intensity is there and the team continues to get better, but we just can’t seem to get over the hump,” SHSU head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols said.
Barbara Febus hit a three point basket with 51 seconds to play in overtime to give Nicholls State the victory. Nicholls had led by as many as 10 points in the first half and was up 39-33 at intermission.
But the Bearkats started the second half with an 8-0 run to take the lead 41-39 on an Adah Wells jumper three minutes into the period.
Sam Houston State held an eight point lead, 69-61, with 8:58 to play and were up by five points, 73-68, with 3:09 to play. But the Bearkats went scoreless the final three minutes, missing four shots and turning the ball over twice.
Barry scored on a jumper with 2:49 left and Katherine Plummer hit a free throw with 2:29 to play before Funaki Kefu’s layup tied the contest 73-73 with 1:44 to play. Febus missed consecutive free throws with 21 seconds left that could have won the game in regulation.
Kendall Homesley led Sam Houston with a career 15 points including five three point baskets. Nicholls State scored 25 points off 28 Bearkat turnovers while committing only 14 turnovers themselves.
“Turnovers really hurt us. That’s a sign of our inexperience. We have to take better care of the ball,” Welch-Nicholls said.
Sam Houston and McNeese are playing Thursday night for the 43rd time in their histories. McNeese leads the all-time women’s basketball series with Sam Houston 22 victories to 20. The split last year, with McNeese winning 57-53 in Lake Charles and Sam Houston winning 63-57 in Huntsville. Eight Bearkat players are averaging more than five points a game for Sam Houston State this year.
Britney Harris (8.6) sports the top scoring average but is sidelined with a knee injury. Other top scorers for the Kats are Lydia Gonzales (8.2), Erica Parker (7.9), Whitney Smith (7.3), Alexis Green (6.6), and Miriam Garraway (5.8), Kendall Hemesley (5.2), and Adah Wells (5.1).
Four players have joined the Bearkat lineup at semester break.
Lydia Gonzales, a 6-0 sophomore transfer from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, is the only true newcomer. Gonzales scored 68 points in 28 games as a freshman at UALR in 2004-05. Gonzales has scored 49 points (8.2) and pulled down 35 rebounds (5.8) in her first six games including four double figure scoring performances.
Ratysaha Alexander, Amber Boyd, and Miriam Garaway all played as freshmen on last year’s Bearkat squad. The three sophomores bring depth to the Kat back court.
Three freshmen rank among the top six scorers for the Bearkats — Whitney Smith (7.3), Alexis Green (6.6), and Brittany Brooks (5.1). Brooks started at point guard for the Bearkats in the Nicholls State overtime loss and racked up a team season high 10 assists.