Sam Houston State University women’s basketball rode a 24-point second quarter to pick up a much needed 63-55 win over the first-place Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks.
The Bearkats started the game slow as they trailed SFA 11-0 in the opening minutes. The first points came from sophomore forward Madelyn Batista, and despite the deficit the Bearkats were able to hold the Ladyjacks scoreless in the final 2:57 of the quarter to close the gap to 13-8.
The 24-point second quarter is where the Bearkats really took off. Junior guard Faith Cook added five points while senior guard Jaylonn Walker had six more and the Kats rode a 32-26 lead into halftime.
“We just have to be honest with kids,” head coach Ravon Justice said. “You either want to be a Pitbull or rottweiler or a poodle, and a poodle is not going make it today.”
SHSU never surrendered the lead in the second half. Cook led the way offensively for the Bearkats with an 18-point game.
“We knew we could come out of it because we put ourselves in that situation,” said Cook. “We didn’t start as well, but we kept play and trying to get stops and we ended up tying it up and getting the lead.”
On the defense side of the ball senior forward La’Sha Haynes had a new career-high 14 boards as the Kats held the Ladyjacks to 1-11 from behind the arc.
With this win the Bearkat senior class collected its first ever victory over SFA and etched its name into the history of the Piney Woods Rivalry.
“This is home,” Justice said. “It’s so much better when you can take care of business and [win] in front of a great crowd. I thought the atmosphere was great tonight for that victory.”
With this win the Bearkats are now in a three-way tie for first place in the Southland Conference. Their next matchup is Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals come to town.