The Sam Houston State women’s basketball team clinched at least a tie for the 2013 Southland Conference championship with its 76-68 victory over Stephen F. Austin Thursday night in Nacogdoches.
But the 17-12 Kats who now own a 13-4 record in conference play know their job is only half-finished.
“We’ve been taking things one game at a time all season long,” head coach Brenda Nichols said. “Thursday we assured ourselves of a tie for the championship. Saturday at Northwestern State we have the opportunity to claim the title and raise the trophy all by ourselves.”
Only Oral Roberts, one game behind the Bearkats in second place with a 12-5 league mark, can tie Sam Houston for the title. A win over the Demons Saturday in Natchitoches erases that possibility.
“The success this year has been a team effort but our focus has been helping our three seniors finally earn a ring,” Nichols said. “Britni Martin, Sequeena Thomas and Chanice Smith have shown up every practice and every game ready to get it done. It’s a great feeling to know that these seniors have won a ring.”
All three seniors have totaled more than 1,000 points during their Bearkat careers. Martin ranks second in all-time women’s scoring at Sam Houston. Thomas is fourth and Smith 13th in scoring. Thomas is the only Bearkat ever to total both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
“The statistics and career marks back up the fact that these young ladies are three of the best players ever to wear the orange and white for Sam Houston women’s basketball,” Nichols said.
It’s been two months since Sam Houston and Northwestern State faced off in Huntsville.
The Bearkats took that game 72-61 with Martin scoring 21 points and Thomas tallying 19 points and 13 rebounds.
“We’ve got to go into their gym focused on what we have to do Saturday,” Nichols said. “Just as we have every week, we’ve got to take things one game at a time.”
With the victory at Nacogdoches, Sam Houston also clinched one of the top two seeds in the Southland Conference tournament next week in Katy at the Ferrell Center.
Both the top two seeds receive a bye into the semifinals on Friday March 15.
Tickets for the Southland Conference tournament are available now online at www.gobearkats.com