In game one of the Bearkats double-header Saturday, the Sam Houston State University women’s basketball team was unable to come away with the victory on the road, losing in overtime to the Houston Baptist University Huskies 65-62.
Behind the stellar performances of sophomore guards Jennifer Oramas and Rachel Harrell, the Bearkats were able to force overtime and make it close when it mattered most. Oramas had nine points on three of 10 shooting, two of four from behind the three-point line in 34 minutes of play.
Harrell accumulated 16 points on six of 18 shooting, four of 11 from behind the arch, an assist, block and steal as well as four rebounds. The team ended the game with only seven turnovers committed as opposed to HBU’s 17, a margin that ended up as one of the highest margins this season in benefit of the Bearkats.
Head coach Brenda Nichols, despite the loss, still admired her team’s performance in the game.
“I’m so proud of this team right now,” Nichols said. “We only had seven turnovers. I do not think I have seen a game like that. We had a lot of positives. We just missed some shots, we look back and we had 81 shots. I do not think we have shot the ball that many times this year and we only made 24. So, that right there is the difference in the ball game.”
Another player that stepped up for the Bearkats was junior forward Lydia Baxter. In 31 minutes of play, Baxter was able to grab 15 rebounds (nine of which were offensive) and 17 points on seven of 24 shooting. The junior was also able to grab two assists, one block and three steals to add to her stat line.
The women’s squad will hit the road to take on the New Orleans Privateers Wednesday at 7 p.m.
In the second game of the afternoon, the men’s squad started off slow, trailing 44-36 at halftime. Thanks to miscues including nine turnovers and nine personal fouls in the first 20 minutes of play, the Bearkats were only able to amass the 36 points on 14 of 31 shooting and two of 10 from three-point range.
In the second half, however, the Bearkats turned a new leaf, starting out on a 4-0 run to bring it back within two possessions. Back and forth the game went with 10 lead changes during the game, five for each team. The teams continued to battle until the Kats eventually sealed an 86-78 victory over the Huskies.
Head coach Jason Hooten talked about the significance of this win.
“It was a good bounce back win for our team,” Hooten said. “A tough loss at Nicholls State. I thought we came out a little flat tonight. But, we really got it going in the second half with great defense, giving up 30 percent. A few things we can get better at with communication on the defensive end and we need to execute on offense a little bit better.
“A road win is always a great win and another thing it does is it gets us to .500 on the road. One of our goals this season was to be .500 or better on the road and with one road game left, we have a great chance at accomplishing that goal.”
What also helped the Bearkats in their come-from-behind win was the play of junior guard Marcus Harris and senior forward Chris Galbreath Jr. Harris went three for eight from the field with two of five from behind the arch. Both of his two three-pointers came late in the game on back-to-back shots to put the game practically out of reach with less than a minute to go.
Galbreath Jr. had a career game tonight with 33 points- his career high and one-point shy of the all-time Bearkat game high. He also picked up 14 rebounds and a double-double on 13 of 21 shooting and seven of eight from the charity stripe.
A player who did not post a double-double, however, was senior guard Jamal Williams, who with his one rebound in the game before he fouled out late in the second half, tied Willie Watson for seventeenth most all-time career rebounds in SHSU program history with rebound number 505.
Coach Hooten talked about the kind of player that Williams is for this team.
“Jamal Williams is the kind of guy that everyone wants on their team,” Hooten said. “He means a lot to me personally. But as a player, he means a lot to this team. He’s a good guy, does everything you want him to do. He did get into some foul trouble tonight, but like you said still got the 505th career rebound. He made some big defensive plays late in the game and we would not be where we are without Jamal.”
The win clinches a berth to the Southland Conference Tournament in Katy for the Bearkat squad based on their 11-4 conference record.
The Bearkats head back to Huntsville and will face New Orleans in their second-to-last home game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.