Coming off their first conference win of the season, the Sam Houston women’s basketball team defeated the California Baptist University Lancers 73-65. The win broke the Lancers 10-game win streak and 23-game conference win streak, with their last conference loss coming in February 2020.
Not only was the win huge for the Bearkats, but the team’s head coach Ravon Justice also returned for the first time this season after taking a leave of absence for personal reasons.
“The decision to come back now was that I was ready,” Justice said. “My reason for a personal reason, and I thank the administration for allowing that time. I thank my team for understanding time. But when you are ready, you are ready.”
The game also highlighted career highs for multiple players. Senior guard Faith Cook set a new career-high in points with 32. Fifteen of the points came from the free-throw line.
“Everybody played for each other,” Cook said. “That was our main focus tonight. We were just trying to get stops and be a team. We showed that tonight.”
Junior forward Madelyn Batista set a new career-high in rebounds with 16 on the night. She finished the game with 18 points to go along with the career-high rebounds.
The Bearkats defense stepped up in the game as they only allowed 24 total points in the first half of the game. In the first quarter, the Bearkats trailed by as much as nine but would come fighting back to cut the lead down to two heading into the second quarter down 13-11.
Sam Houston would respond in the second quarter of play. The game would be even in score 24-24 with two seconds remaining when Cook scored a three-pointer to give Sam Houston the lead going into halftime 27-24. This shot would shift the momentum for both Cook and the Bearkats team.
“Once they see the ball go into the basket, it makes it easier for the next ball to go into the basket,” Justice said.
The Bearkats would go into the second half with a five-point lead because of a technical foul called on Lancers head coach Jarrod Olson which gave the Bearkats two more free throws after the clock had ended for the second quarter.
With the lead, the Bearkats would not trail at all in the second half. The Lancers would keep the game competitive as they would make a three-point shot near the end of the third quarter to cut the lead down to four, with the Bearkats leading 47-43. The game would also be delayed roughly 20 minutes due to the scoreboard powers going out.
Heading to the fourth quarter, the Bearkats would roll to their second straight victory as they would gain a 10-point lead with half the fourth quarter left to go. Cook would score eight of the last nine points for the Bearkats from the free-throw line to give the Bearkats the 73-65 victory.
“My team played hard tonight,” Justice said. “They played together… The biggest factor tonight was everybody contributed.”
The Bearkats look to continue their winning ways in Huntsville, Texas on Saturday to take on the Seattle University Redhawks at 3:00 p.m.