Sam Houston State and Oral Roberts set for Southland Conference title game
Southland Conference Championship
Oral Roberts vs. Sam Houston State
1:55 p.m. ET, ESPN3.com
Sophomore post Angela Beadle scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Sam Houston women’s basketball team into its first Southland Conference post-season tournament finals appearance in 26 seasons the in league Friday.
The No. 2 seeded Bearkats defeated No. 3 seed Lamar 67-61. Sam Houston State and Oral Roberts, the two teams that tied for the regular season championship, will meet in Saturday’s final at 1 p.m. ORU defeated McNeese State 76-66 in the other semifinal.
“I’m a person that almost is never at a loss for words, but I’m speechless today,” said Sam Houston head coach Brenda Nichols. “I love this group. They have accomplished so much and now they’re on the verge of even more. These players have taken us from the bottom of the league to the top.”
Senior forward Sequeena Thomas added 14 points and led both teams with 17 rebounds for the 52nd double figure points and rebounds performance of her career. Jasmine Johnson scored 12 points and Chanice Smith added 10. Beadle’s 19 points tied her career record.
“Angela spends every day trying to get better. She puts in the hard work not only in practice but on her own,” said Nichols. “It’s paying off.”
Sam Houston out-rebounded the Cardinals 41-35 with Beadle and Thomas combining for 26 boards.
“Rebounding is about who wants it more,” said Beadle. “Coach preaches boxing out and rebounding every day.”
Sam Houston never trailed, jumping out to an 11-3 start in the first six minutes. Beadle’s first three baskets power SHSU to a 20-12 margin with eight left in the half.
Lamar rallied to cut the margin to one twice, 20-19 at the 6:54 mark and 22-21 with 6:10 to play before intermission. A layup by Sequeena Thomas started an 9-2 run that put the Bearkats up 31-24 two minutes later.
The Kats went into the locker room at halftime with a 35-29 lead.
Beadle and Thomas kept things rolling in the second half, opening with an 11-4 run to go up 46-35 on a Beadle layup seven minutes into the period. Chanice Smith and Jazmin Wiley gave the Kats, respectively, 53-42 with 8:46 to play and 56-45 with 7:10 left.
Lamar cut the margin to five, 56-51, with 4:50 to play but could come no closer.
“We don’t want to stop playing,” said Thomas. “This is my last year and what a great team. We’re looking forward to the challenge Saturday.”
Oral Roberts 79, McNeese State 66
Oral Roberts University dethroned the defending conference champions and advanced to their first league title game since 2010 with a 79-66 victory over McNeese State University on Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the 2013 Southland Conference Tournament.
With the win, the top-seeded Golden Eagles (17-12) advance to Saturday’s Championship Game, where they will face either Lamar or Sam Houston State.
The victory snaps McNeese’s eight-game SLC Tournament winning streak. The fourth-seeded Cowgirls (18-14) captured the 2011 and 2012 SLC Tournaments and had won their first two games of the 2013 edition.
“We knew that McNeese was the team to beat from the very beginning,” said ORU head coach Misti Cussen. “We knew that it would be a real battle if we met them again, and today we were able to win it on the defensive end.”
Five Golden Eagles scored in double-figures, led by seniors Jaci Bigham and Kevi Luper, who scored 17 points each. Christian Key hit several crucial shots down the stretch and scored 13 points, while Savanna Buck collected 11 points and Taylor Cooper had 10.
Buck led the Golden Eagles with nine rebounds, while Bigham grabbed seven boards and dished eight assists.
Caitlyn Baggett scored 20 points to lead McNeese, with twin sister Ashlyn Baggett adding 16 points. Cecilia Okoye led the low block effort for the Cowgirls, with 17 points and 12 rebounds.