HUNTSVILLE – Kevyn Ferriera drained a contested jumper with 20 seconds remaining, knotting the game on Sam Houston State’s final possession of regulation. The Bearkats carried that momentum into overtime, defeating Jackson State, 74-68 on Tuesday night at Johnson Coliseum.
Sam Houston (3-3) outscored the Tigers (4-3) by six in overtime, overcoming a season-high 31 turnovers while creating its own takeaways in extra time. The Bearkats forced four turnovers in the final 3:11 and did not allow a field goal during that span for the victory.
Despite being outscored by eight points in the second half, Sam Houston set a new season high for points in a quarter with 25 in the second period. The Bearkats drained 7-of-15 from the field during the frame, with Jenniffer Oramas contributing 12 points, including a 5-for-6 performance at the charity stripe.
The sophomore guard set a career high with 21 points, finishing above the 20-point plateau for the third time in her career, and matched her season best of 15 by the half. Four different Bearkats finished in double figures including Kiera McKinney (13), Ferriera (12) and Lydia Baxter (11).
The game, which featured eight lead changes and five ties, saw Sam Houston ahead by as 14 points late in the first half. The matchup was chalked with runs, however, including an 11-0 stretch by Jackson State as the Tigers re-gained the lead and pushed their advantage to four points with 5:43 remaining.
Ferriera snapped Sam Houston’s stretch of four minutes without a basket, draining one of a pair of 3-pointers on the night. The guard was a key part of Sam Houston’s bench outscoring the Tigers, 27-10, as was Baxter, who got the scoring started in overtime with a jumper one minute in.
For the third time this year, the Kats brought in 50-plus rebounds, including nine from Baxter who was one shy of her second-career double-double. McKinney was also key, totaling seven, while matching a career high with four blocks including one in overtime with JSU threatening to re-take the lead.
The win caps a five-game homestand for Sam Houston and marks the first time since 1996 that the program has started the month of December 2-0. The Bearkats hit the road for four of their next five including Friday’s visit to Southern Miss. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. from Hattiesburg, Miss.
Head coach Brenda Nichols on the victory…
“We played ugly and it’s a W. I wasn’t impressed with our turnovers. We hadn’t played anybody, being in finals the last week. That’s not an excuse. We have to take better care of the ball. We have Southern Miss on Friday. We have to do our job. I’m glad we got this W. When we can come out and win games like this, it shows we are maturing into the team we need to be. These games prepare us for conference.”
Head coach Brenda Nichols on the message entering overtime and Ferriera’s bucket in regulation…
“The ball gives you energy. That’s how our team operates. We called timeout and moved the ball down to draw up a play for Kevyn. I knew she could make a tough basket like that. This team wants to get energized. Going into overtime, we had that energy and momentum.”
Kevyn Ferriera on the victory and her game-winning shot…
“I know it feels really good with us about this road. Coming off this home win will really benefit us. Coach Nichols drew up the play. When I was walking out, she grabbed me by the jersey and said, ‘I just need two points, Kevyn.’ Jada fed the ball. We I shot it, I knew it was in. I think everyone had my back on that so it felt really good.”
Jada Ballew on the victory and stringing together consecutive wins…
“Just having a grit-and-grind win like this feels good. We’re about to go on the road against two big teams who will be really tough. We had a lot of turnovers but the fact we were able to overcome those was big. We are definitely learning. This whole week coach just kept talked about us getting in a close situation. The fact we executed, makes it that much better.”
Kiera McKinney on winning the rebounding battle and securing the win at home…
“Coach told us coming in they would be dominant with rebounds and put-backs. It was good for us to box out and get those a majority of the time. We just had to execute our play (going into overtime). It always feels good to play at home. We have to keep the same momentum and intensity on the road.”