Sam
Faith Cook is the floor general for Sam Houston as they enter their first season in the Western Athletic Conference. Courtesy SHSU Athletics.
News Sam Houston

Sam Houston Bearkats Women’s Basketball 2021-22 Season Preview

The Sam Houston women’s basketball team has never had a losing season under head coach Ravon Justice. The Bearkats finished third in the Southland Conference regular season standings and lost in the conference tournament championship game in 2020-21. And now, a new era begins in Huntsville as the Bearkats join the WAC in 2021-22. It won’t be easy especially losing leading scorer Amber Leggett who transferred to Troy in the offseason. But Justice and her staff have done their homework in the offseason, bringing in experience and talent.

Head Coach

Ravon Justice, 4th Season
Overall: 78-65
At SHSU: 50-31
2020-21: 15-8 Overall, 9-5 Southland Conference
Postseason: Lost in Southland Conference Tournament championship game to SFA

Key Departures

Diamond Hunter, 5-7, SO, G (Southern)
Amber Leggett, 5-11, SR, F (Troy)
Jacquelyn Levay, 5-8, SR, G
Jolicia Williams, 5-7, SR, G

Key Newcomers

Shuntorri Rogers, 5-11, G, JUCO
Jordyn Weaver, 5-10, FR, F
Ky’lie Scott, 5-9, SO, G (Little Rock)
Mikayla Woods, 5-6, SO, G (UTSA)
Raanee Smith, 6-2, SO, G/F (Colorado)
Devyn Wilson, 5-11, JR, F (George Mason)

Key Returners

Faith Cook, 5-2, RSR, G
Courtney Cleveland, 5-10, SR, F
Madelyn Batista, 6-2, JR, F

Predicted WAC Finish

7th

Breakdown

Ravon Justice’s had an excellent final campaign in Southland Conference play in 2020-21, finishing as tournament runner-up. The Bearkats also finished in 3rd place during regular season action. Sam Houston  has yet to experience a losing season under Justice’s tenure. 

However, the 2021-22 campaign and their inaugural one as a WAC member dawns with leading scorer Amber Leggett transferring to Troy (Sunbelt League). In 2020-21, Leggett averaged 20.0 points per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent from 3-point range. 

Sam
Courtney Cleveland was the third leading scorer for the Bearkats in 2020-21 and will play a larger role in 2021-22. Courtesy SHSU Athletics.

Faith Cook and Courtney Cleveland (2nd & 3rd leading scorers) are both back for the first year of WAC play. Cook had the most 3-point makes and attempts a season ago for the Bearkats. Cook was also second on the team in assists with 88. Cleveland was second on the team in free throw makes and third in attempts. 

Justice has a lot of new faces on the roster. Seven transfers will don the orange and white this season in Huntsville. Kylie Scott of Little Rock and Raanee Smith of Colorado highlight the list. JUCO transfer Braylyn Dollar from West Texas A&M averaged 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago and was the Sixth Woman of the Year and Lone Star Conference Honorable Mention as a freshman. 

Sam Houston will play Lamar twice in their first three weeks with four of their six matchups coming against old Southland Conference foes. UTRGV will be the ‘Kats first WAC opponent from the previous configuration according to the recent draft of the WAC schedule. 

If Sam Houston wants to improve on its third place finish from a season ago, the Bearkats will have to be more efficient from the 3-point line. In 2020-21, Sam Houston was sub-30 percent from beyond the arc and outshot by opponents 42.6 percent to 43.3 percent in total. 

 

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