Sheppard's late three lifts McNeese over Sam Houston State

Sheppard's late three lifts McNeese over Sam Houston State
(Source: KPLC)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas—McNeese women's basketball outscored Sam Houston State 6-3 in the final two minutes here Wednesday night and came away with a 66-63 Southland Conference win.

With the Cowgirls trailing 63-62 with 21 second remaining, senior Dede Sheppard drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to put McNeese up 65-63. Sam Houston State called a timeout to advance the ball but missed a layup with 6 seconds that would have tied the game McNeese got the rebound and called a timeout to advance the ball on their end of the court. Caitlin Davis was fouled on the inbounds pass with 3 seconds and she would make the second of two free throws for a 66-63 lead. Sam Houston's desperation half court shot fell short as time expired to end the game.

McNeese improved to 9-11 overall and 5-4 in league play while the loss dropped SHSU to 4-15 overall and 1-9 in the SLC.

Davis led all players with a game high 21 points, one shy of tying her career high. Davis was 6 of 10 from the field including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. She was 5 of 8 from the charity stripe and dished out six assists.

Seniors Keara Hudnall and Mercedes Rogers both chipped in 10 points apiece. Hudnall scored eight of her 10 points and six of the Cowgirls' first eight points of the fourth quarter.

Sam Houston State's Jennifer Oramas scored eight of Bearkats first 10 points of the game and 11 of their 15 first quarter points to hold an early lead.

 With McNeese trailing 10-6, the Cowgirls scored five straight points on a layup from Rogers and a three-pointer by Davis to take its first lead of the game t 11-10 and led 18-15 after the first period. Hudnall ended the game 4 of 6 from the field including one three. Rogers was 3 of 5 from the field. 

McNeese who is the league's top rebounding team, was outrebounded for the third straight game. SHSU held a 45-30 rebound edge. Jasmyn Carswell who fouled out in 19 minutes played, led the Cowgirls with five rebounds.

McNeese increased its lead to 23-17 in early in the second quarter but SHSU scored eight straight to retake the lead at 25-23 with 3:25 left in the quarter.

Both teams traded baskets in the final three minutes of the second quarter and SHSU went into the locker room at the half with a 29-28 halftime lead.

McNeese struggled from the field in the first half, shooting 28.6 percent from the field on 11 of 31 from the field including 4 of 14 from three-point range.

Sam Houston State shot 43.8 percent from the field (13 of 29) and outrebounded the Cowgirls 25-14 in the first half.

McNeese used a 7-0 run in the final 1:33 of the third quarter to take a 48-44 lead after overcoming a SHSU six-point lead earlier in the quarter. Rogers took matters into her own hands and scored five of those final seven points of the quarter for McNeese. Rogers ignited the run with a three-pointer then Jones made a layup and Rogers ended the quarter with a layup just before the buzzer sounded to end the quarter.

The Cowgirls' shooting reversed in the second half and McNeese shot 60.0 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from three-point range. 

Oramas led SHSU with 18 points and Lydia Baxter ended with a double-double (17 pts., 15 reb.). Rachel Harrell added 10 points.

McNeese will travel to Northwestern State on Saturday which marks the second half of the conference schedule. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN3.

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