Ladykats devour Nicholls State, but fall short Saturday

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A 39-point beating of Nicholls State last Thursday gave the Sam Houston State women’s basketball team a boost of confidence as it took on Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday in a pivotal Southland conference matchup.But a poor shooting performance (30.3 percent from the field) proved to be the difference as the Lady Bearkats dropped a heartbreaker to the Lady Lions 69-64 in front of a crowd of 564 at Johnson Coliseum. A win would have put Sam Houston State even with Southeastern Louisiana in the conference standings in sixth place at 4-5, but instead the Lady Bearkats fall to 3-6 in Southland play and 4-11 overall.”We really did need it because it was a home game and it was a team that was one game ahead of us,” Lady Bearkat head coach Erika Ritter said after the game. “But it didn’t happen. There’s still half of the season left to play, we’re not going to let it get us down.”Saturday’s game marked the fourth time in the previous seven days the Lady Bearkats had played a game. Nevertheless, Ritter said fatigue wasn’t her team’s major downfall.”I really feel like our shots were not falling, therefore we were getting frustrated, therefore we started to look more fatigued,” Ritter said, noting if the Lady Bearkats had shot even a mere 35 percent, they would have come out on top. “If your shots are going in, your adrenaline starts flowing and you’ve got all that energy and we just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end. That just made us look fatigued.”Sam Houston State post player Brenda Abakwue scored 34 and 32 points respectively in wins over McNeese and Nicholls State last week. Saturday, she proved she was human after all by scoring only nine points despite pulling down 22 rebounds. That along with a 45 percent shooting performance by the Lady Lions put the icing on the cake.”That is the difference in the game is they shot 45 (percent) and we shot 30,” Ritter said.With things going back and forth for most of the second half, Deirdre Allen scored a layup after pulling down an offensive rebound to put Southeastern up 57-55 with 3:54 left in regulation. Stacey Turner then hit three of her game high 22 points 30 seconds later to put Southeastern up for good. Stacy Allen made it look more respectable by hitting a three-pointer with 1.53 seconds remaining, but the Lady Bearkats were forced to foul Ann Webster, who shot 90 percent from the free throw line against the Bearkats. Webster did her job, nailing both freebies to make it official.”The team played hard,” Ritter said. “We played as well as we could.Olivia Villanueva kept the Lady Kats in the game in the beginning by scoring 12 points in the first half, most of them on outside shots. Her first half output gave her two points above her previous game high this season (10 points against UT-Arlington on Jan. 4). The senior from Southlake Carrol finished with 16 on the evening.”Olivia did a good job of knocking down those outside shots,” Ritter said. “That was the shot that they were really going to give us because they we doubling down on the low post, trying to stop our inside game.”The Lady Kats return to action this Thursday when they host Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m.