KATY, Tx. – Machala Linzy scored 14 points including four three-pointers and Claralee Richard added 10 points, but it was the hot shooting of the HBU Huskies from behind the arc that helped left them to a 74-60 win over the Cowgirls in the first round of the Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Merrell Center here Wednesday.
The Cowgirls (6-16) trailed by just six points at the half, 36-30, but ran into a buzz saw in the third quarter where the Huskies (11-10) outscored McNeese by a 21-10 margin.
Trailing 41-35 with 5:42 to play in the third quarter, McNeese’s Divine Tanks, who finished the game with nine points and 12 rebounds, picked up her third foul and exited the game.
HBU took advantage of her absences and rolled off a 15-4 run and upped its lead 56-39 with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter.
The Cowgirls outscored the Huskies 20-17 but were never able to capitalize on the offensive end after getting stops on the defensive side.
HBU’s Julija Vujakovic countered with any kind of McNeese run by knocking down three-pointers, finishing with five in the game and led all scorers with 20 points. HBU’s starting five players scored all but two of the team’s points.
“They were knocking down the three all game,” said Cowgirls’ head coach Kacie Cryer. “Most of them were contested shots too.”
The Huskies finished the game 8 for 14 from long range for 57 percent while connecting on 43 percent overall from the floor (27 of 63).
McNeese was held to 32 percent shooting for the game (21 of 65) but hit 7 of 17 from 3-point range for 41 percent.
Shaela Gardner added 11 rebounds to go along with six points for the Cowgirls as McNeese held a 44-42 advantage on the glass.
HBU will play Central Arkansas at 11 a.m. on Thursday in the tournament’s second-round game.