By McNeese Assistant SID Pam LaFosse
LAKE CHARLES-- The McNeese women's basketball team held off Sam Houston State here Thursday night and came away with a 59-55 Southland Conference road win. The Cowgirls (9-5, 2-1 SLC) were led in scoring by Allison Baggett's 19 points. Jayln Johnson and Cecilia Okoye also scored in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore Alaina Verdin grabbed a career high 12 rebounds.
The Cowgirls extended their lead to 11 points twice in the second half but Sam Houston State wouldn't go away. The Bearkats cut into the Cowgirl lead and trailed by two points (48-46) with 7:38 left to play. The Cowgirls never relinquished the lead and used the free throw line to their advantage late in the game. The Cowgirls scored five of their last eight points from the charity stripe and used half court pressure to seal the win.
Both teams ended the game shooting 33.9 percent from the field while the Cowgirls shot 78.3 percent from the free throw line. Sam Houston State stayed in the game by using the three-pointer. After shooting 6.7 percent (1-15) from behind the arc in the first half, the Bearkats were 5 of 11 in the second half for a 45.5 field goal percent.
On the other hand, the Cowgirls had one of its worst nights from behind the arc, making one of 11 attempts. Johnson made the only trey for the Cowgirls in the first half.
Sam Houston placed three players in double figures with Amanda Barnes (16), Kristina Smith (13) and Angela Beadle (11). Nyha Carter led the Bearkats with 12 rebounds. Beadle came into the game as the league's leading rebounder, averaging 10 per game. McNeese's NeTanya Jones held her to seven on the night and below her scoring average of 15.1 ppg.