Kats cruise to fourth victory

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HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats put five players in double figures and had two players register double-doubles as they rolled to a 94-46 win over St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

Jenniffer Oramas paced the Kats (4-3) with 18 points, along with career highs of 11 assists and eight steals for her first career double-double. Lydia Baxter also delivered 14 points and 10 boards off the bench for her first double-double of the year, while La’Sha Haynes pulled in 13 rebounds of her own on a day that saw Sam Houston outrebound the Celts (2-4).

That margin helped Sam Houston dominate inside, outscoring UST 66-6 in the paint.

Dominique Maxwell also put home a career-best 15 points, while Jaylonn Walker hit six of her eight shots from the floor and had five steals along with putting in 14 points in just 16 minutes of work. Amber Leggett was the fifth Kat in double figures with 11 points, hitting all four of her field goals and each of her three tries form the foul line.

In all the Kats continued their trend this season of forcing turnovers, causing the Celts to give it up 31 times on the day and turning that into 43 points.

The Kats went to work early, running out to a 30-8 lead after just a period of play. They led 16-3 within the first five minutes of the first quarter with Walker delivering seven early points in that stretch, and held the Celts to just 2-for-13 shooting with 10 turnovers in putting things out of reach early.

The lead would just grow from there. Oramas had half of the points in a 12-2 run to open up the second quarter, upping the lead to as much as 42-10 with 7:02 left in the half. But the Kats would make just two field goals the rest of the way into the half, while the Celts finally got something going with a 10-2 run that got the score as close as 47-23 just before the half.

But that was as close as it got as the Kats came out firing in the second half, opening up with the first 16 points of the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Rachel Harrell and a layup from Baxter capping the run. They held UST off the board until a pair of free throws with 5:16 to go in the quarter and finished the quarter strong as well, moving into the fourth up 77-35 on a triple by Maxwell in the final minute.

The Kats would put up just 17 points in the final period, but kept the clamps on defensively, holding UST to just 2-for-15 shooting in the fourth quarter to close out the victory and move to 3-0 at home for the first time since the 2013-14 season

Sam Houston will now take a week off to observe final exams before hitting the court again on Saturday, December 8, in Lafayette, La., where they will battle the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Cajundome and will be aired on Cox Sports TV.