Kats rally back to take down Islanders

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats (13-9, 8-4) defeated the Texas A&M Corpus Christi University Islanders (12-10, 6-5) 61-59 Wednesday night. The win was in large part due to a strong performance from junior guard Jenniffer Oramas who finished 6-11 shooting with fifteen points including three three-pointers. Junior guard Jaylonn Walker put up 15 points as well, and senior forward Lydia Baxter played a key role as well, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Baxter, who was coming off winning Southland Conference Women’s Player of the Week, also had an impressive performance defensively, as she keyed a late game stop that helped the Bearkats win. For the Islanders, junior guard Emma young put up 23 points while  forward Alexes Bryant had 15 blocked shots for the Islanders, one short of the NCAA Women’s Division 1 record for most blocks in a single game. These efforts were not enough to fight past the Bearkats.

The game started off very rough for the Bearkats as they shot 3-22 in the first quarter and only putting up six points in the quarter and could not capitalize on ten offensive rebounds, while also struggling defensively. However, with about six minutes left in the second quarter, Jaylonn Walker made a 3-pointer which shifted the momentum for the team. That possession was followed by a charge on the Islanders, and two quick baskets for the Bearkats which brought the game back into single digits for the first time since the middle of the first quarter. The Bearkats were able to make it a two point game before halftime off of fast break layups and two  three pointers by Oramas, while the defense picked up tremendously and did not allow any easy shots.

Right off the bat in the second half, the Bearkats came out with all the momentum and were able to keep the game close and eventually take a four-point lead after an three point play by Oramas, which she followed with a three-pointer to give them a four point lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. The Bearkats went up by as much seven points, but the Islanders would not go away. The Islanders went on a 12-4 run to end the quarter, making it 45-44 Islanders going into the final period.

SHSU then fought neck and neck with the Islanders the rest of the fourth quarter. The Bearkats took the lead again with eight minutes left in the quarter on a layup by Baxter, but it did not last long as the Islanders went on to score six straight points to go up by five with less than five minutes left. This did not affect the Bearkats as they came storming back the rest of the quarter. After two 3-pointers by Oramas and Walker, and a floater from Oramas, the Bearkats took a 56-55 lead with 2:30 left in the game. With less than a minute to go, the Islanders made a free throw to tie the game. On the following possession, Baxter made a layup to give the Bearkats a 60-58 lead. With 21 seconds left, the Bearkats turned over the ball while up by one and had to come up big on defense. The ball was inbounded and Baxter came up clutch with a crucial steal to ice the game with almost no time to spare, pushing the Bearkats to a win 61-59 in one of their most intense games of the season.

“I thought today my team played hard,” Head coach Ravon Justice said. “We were relentless.  We could’ve quit when we got down 15 early on, but I’m truly proud of how we finished the game.” Next game the Bearkats take on the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont on Saturday, where they will look to take down the second ranked team in the Southland Conference.

Leave a Reply