Elementary schools in the Huntsville area packed Johnson Coliseum Friday morning for the annual Pack the House game where the Sam Houston State Bearkats women’s basketball team lost a hard fought battle against the undefeated Wiley College Wildcats 57-51.
“I’m disappointed the outcome wasn’t different,” head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols said. “But I do believe this team could win a lot of games as we keep moving forward.”
At the end of the first half, the Bearkats had a 28-27 lead over the Wildcats. The team notched 10 rebounds during the half, but could not find a groove on offense, finishing the game shooting only 33 percent from the field.
“None of us have played together,” Welch-Nichols said. “We’re trying to figure out each other as we keep building and believing in ourselves. Once we do, we’ll get better.”
The team came out strong at the start of the second half, scoring five points in less then a minute, forcing the Wildcats to take an early timeout. The momentum continued as SHSU held a lead over WC for the whole third quarter.
The Bearkats lost the lead with less then 10 minutes to go in the game. Once the Wildcats had a one-point advantage, SHSU had a difficult time securing a lead as they fell to WC 57-51.
The Kats couldn’t find a rhythm on offense towards the end of the game. SHSU made three of 15 from behind the arc. Welch- Nichols thinks the out of rhythm offense has a lot to do with the team’s confidence level.
“I think our players have to gain the confidence,” Welch-Nichols said. “They need to believe in what they are doing and believe in the system. I think once they get it, it will click.”
Multiple players notched career highs in Friday’s game. Sophomore forward Lydia Baxter earned a career high and led the team with 10 rebounds, while junior guard Angela Delaney also earned a career high in points with 10. Freshman post Kiera McKinney lead the team with 15 points, the most from an SHSU player this season
“McKinney and Baxter did a wonderful job for us,” Welch-Nichols said. “They both came of the bench and the gave us a big spark that we needed.
With the loss to Wiley College, the Bearkats move to an 0-3 overall record for the season. The Kats will have a quick turnaround, as the team will play host to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Monday.
Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Johnson Coliseum.