The Sam Houston State Bearkats took the floor Saturday evening against the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions. The Bearkats notched their first win of the season as the team took down the Lady Lions 68-61.
“From pregame on, it was just a different type of pregame,” head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols said. “It was just a relaxed day today, and that’s kind of the way I wanted to keep it with this team.”
The game started out close, with no team being able to separate for most of the first quarter. The Bearkats were ignited by the play of freshman guard Jenniffer Oramas, who led the team with eight points and three, steals in the first quarter.
The Bearkats, as a team, was excellent at jumping the Lions’ passes to start the game. The defensive pressure made the Lions uncomfortable and took them out of rhythm from the start.
“Coach told us to pressure them because she didn’t think they could handle the pressure,” Oramas said “We got a lot of steals as a team, and it helped us build momentum throughout the game.”
The Bearkats were able to build up the lead to 17-10 at the end of the first quarter, and were able to take a 19-10 lead to start the second; but then the Lady Lions made their run. With 3:10 left in the second quarter, the Lady Lions were not only able to claw their way back into the game, but they even took a 26-25 lead.
The Bearkats would not stay quiet for long though.
Trailing 30-29 with under a minute left in the second half, senior guard Morghen Day hit a three point shot to put the Bearkats back in front, then as time expired, junior guard Angela Delaney hit another three pointer to beat the buzzer. The back-to-back threes gave the Bearkats a 35-30 halftime lead.
After halftime the Bearkats came out with the same energy and aggression that propelled them to success in the first half, but this time the Lady Lions had an answer.
Led by the hot shooting of junior guard Taylin Underwood and sophomore guard Ashailee Brailey, the Lady Lions were able to once again chip away at the Bearkats lead, entering the fourth quarter with the game tied at 49 apiece.
The Bearkats were able to take control of the game once again after Day knocked in a three pointer, which gave the Kats a 52-49 lead, a lead that the Bearkats would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Strong play by Oramas, sophomore center Ashleigh Cooper and sophomore forward Lydia Baxter helped the Bearkats sustain control of the game down the stretch.
Oramas scored a game-high 20 points, shooting 3-3 from behind the arc and adding four steals. Cooper finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds, while Baxter tallied 10 points and eight boards.
The Bearkats finally got that first win of the season, which felt long overdue amongst the team.
“It was overdue, it was just overdue,” Welch-Nichols said. “We were eventually going to get one, but now I think they’ve got the confidence, and I think we can roll with this.”
SHSU hopes that this win will help them begin a run of solid play in the latter part of their schedule. Up next, the Bearkats will be tested with a matchup against rival Stephen F. Austin State. The game will be played on Feb. 2 at Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m.