HOUSTON, Texas— It was a tale of two halves and the McNeese women’s basketball team weathered through a good shooting first half by Houston Baptist and turned the tables in the second half to pick up an 86-74 Southland Conference win here Saturday.
The Huskies connected on 15 of 23 attempts for a 66.7 field goal percent in the first half while the Cowgirls shot 52.6 percent on 11 of 33.
All that changed in the second half as the Cowgirls shot 60.0 (21-35) and held the Huskies to a 34.2 field goal percent (12-35). McNeese held as much as a 16-point lead with two minutes left in the game.
“Credit them (HBU) for coming out and shooting the ball well in the first half,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “We stayed the course, made shots in the second half when we needed to stay close and went in at the half and made some defensive adjustments. We stayed patient on offense, let the game come to us and we finished strong. We did some really good things today.”
For the sixth time this season, four Cowgirls scored in double figures. Dede Sheppard led all players with a game high 19 points. Mercedes Rogers added 17 points and moved into sixth place in McNeese career rebounds with her fifth rebound of the game. She ended the game with seven. Caitlin Davis and Bre’Ashlee Jones both chipped in with 15 points apiece. The 15 points for Jones is a season high.
Houston Baptist opened the game on with a 10-2 lead and were nearly perfect from the field in the first four minutes of the game. The Cowgirls put together an 8-0 run that saw four different players contribute in scoring to even the game. HBU ended the quarter on another 10-2 run to lead 20-10 after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Cowgirls’ defense cause havoc to HBU’s offense and the Cowgirls capitalize on several turnovers that turned in to easy fast break points. McNeese would tie the game at 22 apiece on a Rogers steal and a Davis layup. Two free throws by Sheppard gave McNeese its first lead of the game (24-22) with six minutes left. The lead would change three more times before HBU would take a 35-33 lead at the half.
HBU opened the third quarter with another little run but the Cowgirls answered with an 8-0 run for a 46-43 lead then Bolton drained her second three-pointer of the game to give McNeese its largest lead of the game (49-45) up to this point.
Layups by Jones, Sheppard and Davis to open up the fourth quarter gave McNeese a 10-point lead (61-51) and its largest lead of the game. McNeese continued to keep their foot on the pedal and stayed composed when HBU made runs to pick up its third conference road win.
“I’m really proud of our players, everybody that played did their part. We saw growth in our kids today when they started to make runs, we didn’t fold- instead we answered on offense and that is a big improvement,” said Cryer.
McNeese will have another six days off then will travel to Lamar next Saturday for a 2 p.m. game.
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