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February 2, 2014

SHSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL - Kats drop close game to Houston Baptist

HUNTSVILLE — Sam Houston State had an opportunity to pull out another close win against Houston Baptist.

The little things like boxing out and grabbing a crucial rebound came back to haunt the Bearkats when it mattered the most as they lost to the Huskies 63-62.

After Tayler Jefferson missed the second free throw that kept the Huskies lead at 61-59 with 12 seconds to play, the Bearkats grabbed the rebound.

Jefferson stole the pass that was intended for Jasmine Johnson and was immediately fouled with five seconds left.

“We just got the rebound and kind of overthrew our point guard (Jasmine Johnson),” Bearkats coach Brenda Nichols said. “Those little things will hurt us and we got to be a little more in control.”

Jefferson made both of her free throws to extend the lead to 63-59.

“I was just thinking, ‘If the ball comes to me, I need to grab it,’” said Jefferson, who finished with seven points, seven assists, three steals and two rebounds. “When it comes down to that, the ball has to be in our hands.”

Those free throws turned out to be huge as Amanda Barnes made a desperation 3-point shot that cut the lead to 63-62 with one second left in the game.

Then the Huskies (5-5 Southland Conference play, 9-12 overall) inbounded the ball and time ran out on the Bearkats.

“I think those two free throws were so great for us,” Jefferson said. “I think that it shows as a team that we are not fazed when the lead gets that close and we can still pull it out.”

Houston Baptist broke a 40-40 tie in the early minutes of the second half with an 11-1 run to make the score 52-41.

Sam Houston (5-5 SLC, 10-11 overall) kept chipping at the lead, but the Huskies continued to pull further away.

After Heidi Sihvola hit a shot that made it 57-48, the Kats felt that they needed to make a strong run if they were going to make a game out of it.

Barnes’ two made free throws, jump-started a 10-0 run that was capped by Summer Fife’s 3-pointer to help the Bearkats regain the lead at 58-57 with 1:58 left in the game.

“Summer has been doing a great job coming in off the bench and doing her job and doing what she needs to do,” Nichols said.

The Huskies responded when Shanice Steenholdt grabbed the missed shot and put it back in the net and was fouled in the process.

That allowed her to reach the charity stripe and finish the three-point play to give Houston Baptist a 60-58 lead.

The Bearkats had an opportunity to tie the game with 33.2 seconds left.

However, with the shot clock winding down, Steenholdt, who is third in the Southland Conference in blocks and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, blocked Barnes’ 3-point attempt and forced a shot clock violation.

“All I was thinking was, ‘I got to get a hand up and get the tip on it or something,” Steenholdt said.

The Huskies tried to develop a play, but couldn’t get anything going, so they called a timeout.

That turned out to be a mistake as the Bearkats’ defense was playing man-to-man and Houston Baptist couldn’t inbound the ball that led to the five-second violation and a turnover.

With 15 seconds left, Angela Beadle went for the layup, but was fouled with an opportunity to tie the game from the free throw line.

Beadle, who shoots 76 percent from the line and led the Bearkats with 20 points and 15 rebounds, made one of two free throws to pull them within a 61-59 that set up the wild finish.

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