HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The Sam Houston State Bearkats picked up a statement win on Saturday, leading nearly the entire way in a 72-63 win over Abilene Christian at Moody Coliseum.

The Bearkats (12-9, 7-4 SLC) avenged a league-opening loss to the Wildcats (14-8, 7-4 SLC) in Huntsville in a game that had Jaylonn Walker lead the way with 15 points, doing most of her damage late in the game on 8-for-10 at the foul line.

 

Rachel Harrell delivered 10 big points off the bench, all in the second half, and the Kats led for 26:12 of the game’s 40 minutes. Jenniffer Oramas also had 10 points and five assists in 35 minutes off the bench, while Lydia Baxter had eight points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six steals.

 

The Kats would finish 21-for-27 from the stripe in the game and turned the ball over just 16 times in the game – four in the second half – in an effort that was just one off its season best.

 

ACU’s Breanna Wright led all players with 21 points for the Wildcats.

 

NOTES
- The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Bearkats in the series with ACU and the first win since 2015, which was also the last time the Kats won in Abilene.
- The win pulled the Kats even with ACU in the Southland standings, and just a half-game back of Nicholls for third place in the league.
- Rachel Harrell hit two of the Bearkats’ two 3-pointers, giving her 98 for her career and moving her past Kelly Kramer for sole possession of ninth all-time at SHSU.
- Lydia Baxter picked off six steals for the game, setting a new career high. It is the 13th time this season she has had a game with multiple steals and the fourth time she has had at least four in a game.

 

HOW IT HAPPENED

FIRST HALF
- The first 16 total points of the game were scored in the paint until La’Sha Haynes drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to bring the Kats to within 10-9 midway through the first quarter. It was her first 3-point try, and make, of the season.
- SHSU committed eight turnovers in the opening quarter, but used a 7-2 run to hold a brief 11-10 lead with less than two minutes to go on Walker’s first score of the game.
- Baxter had just one bucket, but hauled in six rebounds in the first quarter.
- ACU led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, but the Kats responded to take a 29-26 lead into the break.
- The Sam Houston defense held the Wildcats, who entered the game making more than seven 3-point buckets per game, without a 3-pointer on nine tries in the half. ACU’s Breanna Wright had a dozen points in the half, but no other player had more than Lexie Ducat’s six.
- Seven Kats reached the scoring column, led by Amber Leggett’s six points. Sam Houston took the lead on a Jenniffer Oramas jumper midway through the second quarter and eventually built it up to as much as 29-24 on a 15-foot jumper from Kiera McKinney with less than a minute to go.

 

SECOND HALF
- After missing their first nine 3-pointers of the game, Breanna Wright hit the first of the game for ACU in the first minute of the third quarter to tie it up at 31-31.
- Things were all tied up at 35-35 before the Kats reeled off a 10-0 run in less than two minutes to take a 45-35 lead. That run ended in back-to-back scores from Rachel Harrell, including a 3-pointer on her first field goal try of the game.
- The Kats would then go nearly four minutes without a field goal while ACU cut the lead down to just two points on a 3-pointer from Madi Miller; however, Harrell answered with her second 3-pointer of the quarter on the next possession, moving into sole possession of ninth all-time at SHSU with her 98th career triple.
- Sam Houston led 52-45 at the end of the third quarter …
- ACU quickly cut the Bearkat lead down to just five early in the fourth quarter before the Kats responded with a quick 7-2 spurt that ended in a steal and layup from Haynes that pushed the SHSU lead back to double figures at the final media timeout.