Sam Houston State’s women’s and men’s basketball teams will travel down to San Antonio in a Southland Conference matchup against University of Incarnate Word Thursday night.
Both teams are heading into the match on winning streaks: women’s on a three-game winning streak with the men on a four-game winning streak.
The Lady Bearkats are driving into San Antonio hot off a dramatic overtime victory on the road against Southeastern Louisiana and a blowout win at the University of New Orleans.
“We’re going in to take care of business,” head coach Brenda Nicholls said. “We just got to go in and play our game.”
SHSU was winless in conference until their last second 51-50 victory over Nicholls State. Since the game, SHSU has excelled in turning their 0-3 record to 3-3.
“We didn’t peak early in the season,” Nicholls said. “We could have done this early and could be going down.”
The UIW Cardinals (2-2, SLC) will have to shut down the dominance of junior post player Angela Beadle and senior guard Jasmine Johnson. Beadle has been the rock on offense for the Bearkats. After a 34-point performance at Southeastern Louisiana to lead the Bearkats into overtime and steal the win, Beadle was awarded SLC Player of the Week.
Johnson has garnered attention herself after back-to-back buzzer-beater shots against Nicholls St. and SELA. The duo has accounted for 28.2 points per game for SHSU.
“The leadership is coming now,” Nicholls said.
SHSU’s men’s team is 5-1 in conference with their only loss coming in a road game at Stephen F. Austin State, the current SLC leader.
Although SLC standings are in favor of the Bearkats, the Cardinals are 14-3 on the regular season and are looking to make a name for themselves in their rookie season in the SLC. A win over second place SHSU could be their ticket in igniting the fuel to make their way into the conference tournament.
Junior transfers guards from Seward County Community College, Kaheem Ransom and Jabari Peters have led the Bearkats on offense. Ransom’s 21.5-point average pushed SHSU over Southeastern Louisiana and the University of New Orleans for weekend sweep at home. His performance was recognized by the SLC when he earned SLC Player of the Week earlier this week.
Peters leads the team in minutes, rebounds, and most notably, points per game with 13.6.
“[They’re] some needed scoring boost that we didn’t have last year,” head coach Jason Hooten said.
Against the Cardinals, SHSU’s defense is going to have to contain two high-scoring guards with Denzel Livingston and Kyle Hittle heading UIW’s offensive attack. Livingston averages 18.5 points a game, edging out Hittle’s 17.6 points a game.
SHSU has two road games left before returning back to Huntsville Jan. 30.
Hooten said that the road games haven’t phased SHSU’s gameplay.
“We’ve been on the road all year long,” Hooten said. “We’re used to it. We look at it as a challenge and continue to play with a chip on our shoulder.”
The Lady Bearkats will tip-off in San Antonio at 5:30 followed by the men’s contest at 8:05.