With eight games left in the regular season, the Sam Houston State women’s basketball team (7-12) continues to sit in ninth place in the Southland Conference standings after splitting last week’s games.
The Bearkats won 55-39 against Southeastern Louisiana (6-12) last Thursday but lost at conference-leading Texas-Arlington (13-6) Saturday by 56-34.
Saturday, the Kats traveled to Arlington to face the conference-best UTA Mavericks. The Mavericks were coming off of their first conference loss and an end to a 22-game home winning streak at the hands of Stephen F. Austin.
A three hour bus ride became an eight hour nightmare when electrical problems with the windshield wipers stranded the team in Fairfield. The team’s entire routine was dashed, Hatchell said. The Kats arrived eight hours late, after sitting around idly for five hours at a nearby restaurant watching the rain. It was not the ideal pre-game routine for the Bearkats.
The beginning of the game went back and forth, until three made free throws sent UTA on an 11-0 run. At the 5:50 mark, the Mavericks were up 20-9. From that point on, UTA controlled the game. The Kats cut the lead to nine points with three minutes left in the first half, but the Mavs ended up going into the half up 28-13.
The second half turned into more of the same, as UTA went on a 17-2 run to start the half. With 15 minutes remaining, the Mavs led 39-15. SHSU would cut the lead back down to nine, only to see it stretch back upwards.
“Our problem was making shots. I don’t mean tough shots. I mean easy shots like layups or open jumpers,” Hatchell said. “Arlington is very athletic and very physical. We gave up only 56 against them, but we missed three easy layups and shot free throws poorly. The consistency thing has been big.”
In the end, UTA’s margin of victory was 26 points. Wells led the team with only seven points. SHSU had one of its worst shooting nights of the season, shooting only .308 as a team. UTA also won the battle of the boards, out rebounding the Kats 43-31.
In the framework of the rest of the day’s tribulations, Coach Hatchell was still proud of his team.
“I’m very, very happy with how well and hard we played,” he said. “We’ve been doing a good job defensively. The most points we’ve given up is 57 and when you’re doing that on defense, you’ve got a chance to win games.”
Ending a four game losing streak, SHSU won convincingly against the SE Louisiana Lions by a 16-point margin last Thursday. “We’re trying to make the playoffs. Some games are must win games,” Hatchell said. “We told the players that last Thursday’s game was a must-win.”
With that mentality, the Kats played well and went into the locker room at halftime leading 24-14 but almost let the game slip away when the Lions came out of intermission with a 12-2 run to tie the game.
A layup by sophomore Adah Wells put the Kats in the driver’s seat again, where they would sit for the rest of the game. Wells, a post player, had a game-high 18 points and a team-high six rebounds in only 23 minutes of play.
“Adah is coming along, she’s been shooting well, and we’ve been trying to do a better job of finding her,” Hatchell said.
The Kats will host Northwestern State (10-7, 3-3) on Thursday at Johnson Coliseum. The game is scheduled for