HUNTSVILLE – Despite putting three players in double figures, the Sam Houston State Bearkats could not withstand a hot-shooting Abilene Christian squad, falling to the Wildcats, 91-79, on Saturday afternoon at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
Amber Leggett delivered 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and the Bearkats (5-6, 0-1 SLC) hit 50.0 percent from the field in their Southland Conference opener; however, ACU (9-4, 2-0 SLC) hit 57.1 percent in the second half and 50.9 percent from the game to put up the most points by a Bearkat opponent this season.
ACU was 12-for-27 from the 3-point line, led by five from Dominique Golightly and four from Makayla Mabry. Golightly led all scorers with 26 points, while Sara Williamson was right behind her with 23 points and nine assists.
Along with Leggett, Lydia Baxter delivered another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylonn Walker had 17 points and seven assists before fouling out in 27 minutes on the floor.
Walker was one of six combined players in the game to foul out in a game that was marred by 58 combined fouls and 65 total foul shots. The Kats worked their way to the line 11 more times than the Wildcats, but were only able to convert 23 of their 38 tries, including 12-for-20 by Baxter.
The Bearkats will try to square up their league record on Wednesday when they host Central Arkansas at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Williamson had a dozen points and three assists for the Wildcats in a high-scoring opening period that saw the Kats get five points each from Leggett and Jenniffer Oramas. SHSU held an early 10-7 lead four minutes into the game on consecutive scores from Leggett.
But ACU responded with a 10-0 run that included 3-pointers by both Golightly and Mabry, taking the lead for good early in the game. The Kats would stay within striking distance, however, and trailed by just seven after the opening 10 minutes.
Walker got going in the second quarter with seven of her 17 points, including the first of her three 3-point buckets of the game. She found La’Sha Haynes on a breakaway for a layup midway through the quarter to get the Kats back to within 37-33, but ACU answered with a 3-pointer from Mabry and did not let SHSU any closer, eventually going into the break with a 45-38 advantage.
ACU finally opened it up in the third quarter, hitting nearly 60 percent of its shots from the field and a trio of treys, pushing the lead to as high as 14 on a late triple by Breanna Wright. Another three from Wright midway through the fourth swelled the lead to its peak at 82-62, despite six quick points from Walker getting the Kats as close as 11.