TULSA, Okla. – The Sam Houston State women’s basketball team notched its first victory of the season on Saturday with a 72-69 win over Western Illinois in the third-place game of the Holiday Inn Select Thanksgiving Classic at the University of Tulsa.
The Kats held a lead for most of the second half, but the Kats were tested late in the game. Western hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut the lead to 1 in the final seconds. But Brittany Brooks hit a pair of free throws to seal the game for the Kats.
“This was a total team effort this afternoon,” head coach Brenda Nichols said. “The girls just relaxed and played hard. We pressed for thirty minutes, and it is nice to have everyone contributing.”
The Bearkats (1-5, 0-0 Southland Conference) started out the game with a 5-0 run in the first two minutes before Western got on the board. Western then started a 13-6 run over the next four minutes to take a 13-11 lead. The team’s then battled for the lead for the next three minutes, going on several four and six point runs.
Sam Houston State broke a 17-all tie with 9:30 minutes remaining on a jumper by Whitney Smith to take the final advantage of the half. The Bearkats went on a 8-2 run to extended their lead to five points. Western kept fighting, but was unable to get closer than one point during the first 20 minutes and headed to the locker room down 40-35.
The Westerwinds started the next 20 minutes with a 5-2 run in the first three minutes to pull within two points, but Sam Houston State then started a 6-0 run of its own to extended the lead. Western kept battling, and tied the game at 51 with 9:45 remaining, but the Bearkats again pulled out to a four-point lead and held it for the remainder of the game.
After shooting 50 percent (13-26) from the floor in the first half the Westerwinds shot only 38.9 percent (11-38) in the second 20 minutes of the game, while Sam Houston stayed consistent with a 45.3 shooting percent (24-53) in the game.