HUNTSVILLE – With 12 minutes to play and Sam Houston down only three points after rallying from a 12-point deficit, the Bearkats looked set to pick up their first Southland Conference victory. But Central Arkansas held off the Kats with eagle-eye shooting from beyond the arc for an 87-69 women’s basketball victory Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.
Central Arkansas (6-18, SLC 4-6) went 14-of-29 from three point range for the game. The Sugar Bears were led by Kia Lee who scored 32 points. Kia accounted for seven of those treys in 11 attempts.
Sam Houston State (1-23, SLC 0-11) was led by Lydia Gonzales with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Brittany Brooks scored 13 points, Leasa Ailshie added 12, and Whitney Smith posted 10 points for the Bearkats.
The Bearkats opened the game with a 4-3 lead, but Central Arkansas took over on Kia’s first successful three point basket. The Sugar Bears led the rest of the game with SHSU cutting the margin to one point, 18-17, on a jumper by Gonzales with 6:48 in the first half. Central Arkansas went on a 18-8 run to end the half and go into the locker room at intermission ahead 35-26.
The Sugar Bears built a 12 point lead early in the second half, going up 41-29. Pressure defense that forced 18 Central Arkansas turnovers helped spark a Sam Houston comeback. Two free throws by Brooks with 12:32 to play cut the lead to 45-42.
That’s when Central Arkansas got hot from behind the arc again, closing the game with a 46-27 run in the final 12 minutes.
Meaghen Kelleybrew and Laura Anderson added 11 points for Central Arkansas. Lee pulled down 14 rebounds.
Sam Houston State’s next action is Saturday when the Bearkats play host to Stephen F. Austin at 3 p.m.