93° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Women’s basketball reflects on a season of perseverance

Texas+State+senior+forward+DaNasia+Hood+%2832%29+takes+a+free-throw+shot+during+a+game+against+the+University+of+Louisiana%2C+Thursday%2C+Feb.+10%2C+2022%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+in+OT+72-71.

Texas State senior forward Da’Nasia Hood (32) shoots a free-throw against the University of Louisiana, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won in OT 72-71.

A basketball season isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Throughout the long hours of hard practice, the traveling and the physicality of games, it can get hard to keep going. Even through that, Texas State women’s basketball team never gave up.
The 2021-2022 season was a tale of peaks and valleys for Coach Zenarae Antoine and her team. After starting the season, 5-2, the team went into a bit of a tailspin, going 1-7 over their next eight games. However, the Bobcats managed to weather the storm and bounced back to cap off the season with a 15-14 record and a playoff win. Antoine said the key to their second-half resurgence was staying true to themselves.
“You need to have a good understanding of who you are and what your why is,” Antoine said. “When the how doesn’t go the way you want to you really got to focus on your why … we stuck with it, we hit some rocky moments, but then we hit some highs that made me feel really good. Our culture got to a really good place as far as being able to battle and fight and I’m proud of that.”
Part of the season’s adversity can be attributed to the pandemic. In January, a massive spike in cases due to the Omicron variant forced the Sun Belt Conference to fall back into more restrictive health and safety protocols. The Omicron surge also forced Sun Belt Conference schools like Little Rock and South Alabama to cancel at least four games. Meanwhile, Texas State was one of just two teams in the Sun Belt Conference to only have one game canceled.
“We hit a fair amount of adversity regarding COVID. We were one of very few schools that played through games instead of sitting out,” Antoine said. “The only school that played as many games as we did was Troy. I’m really proud of that, there’s a lot to be said for our student-athletes fighting through that.”
Even with all the highs and lows, two of Texas State’s stars shined. Both senior forward Da’Nasia Hood and senior guard Kennedy Taylor were named to Sun Belt All-Conference teams. Hood was one of the most lethal scorers in the conference, finishing fourth in points-per-game with 16.9. Not only that, but Hood came up clutch in the Bobcat’s first round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship win over South Alabama when she scored a career-high 33 points to put away the Jaguars. That type of scoring punch is something her teammates definitely appreciated.
“She just makes the game easier for everyone,” Taylor said. “Pretty much everyone we play game plans for her, and she knows that, but she still finds a way to score and make our team better, so yeah Da’Nasia Hood is my MVP.”
Taylor on the other hand was an iron-woman all throughout the year, playing 40 minutes (a whole game’s worth) 13 times this season. Not only that, but the 5-foot-3-inch point guard led the Sun Belt Conference in total assists with 183, giving her the highest per-game average of 6.3. She takes a lot of pride in being able to run the show.
“I really like how our coaches have instilled the confidence in me to run the team,” Taylor said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win the game, but I would say my specialty is getting other people involved, just trying to find different ways for my teammates to score is a big part of my game.”
Despite all the individual success, the two still aren’t quite satisfied with how their season ended when they came up short of a win after losing to Louisiana in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship. Hood admitted her slight disappointment, while also acknowledging that the team could use this experience moving forward.
“I was okay with the season, but my goal at the end of the day is to win so if we didn’t accomplish that then I didn’t do enough,” Hood said. “I know that sounds funny, but that’s just how I think about the game. We had to fight through a lot of adversity this season, but I think it played out in a good way as far as what we’ll be able to take into next year.”
In fact, the team is very excited about this upcoming year. The 2022-2023 season will be Hood and Taylor’s last dance as Bobcats and that’s something that isn’t lost on them.
“I’m just looking forward to going out hard in my last season,” Hood said. “Having this last year with KT and some of the others on the team, I’m really looking forward to it.”
However, they’re also just looking forward to hopefully having a normal year. As the pandemic subsides, things will move back to normal, including sports. Not only will the team have to go through less restrictive health and safety protocols, but they won’t have to deal with as much anxiety about socializing in their daily lives.
Many of the younger members of the team don’t even know what it’s like to not have to deal with that anxiety, which is why Taylor is so happy that they’ll finally get to have a normal season.
“I’m really more excited for the student-athletes that haven’t had a chance to go through a season without COVID,” Taylor said. “A lot of our younger ones, they’ve never seen a season without COVID, so I’m just excited for us to be able to get the full experience.”
Antoine also recognizes how big it is for her players to not have to deal with that constant anxiety hanging over them every time they step out in public. She also said that fewer restrictions mean her team can now get a lot more done, not only in terms of practices but even team-building exercises and activities.
“There’s things that we’re able to do now where you don’t feel as stressed out … there’ll just be a greater sense of freedom,” Antoine said. “We feel really safe around each other in a team setting, but when you get out in the general public it can be pretty scary. The hope is that as we go through this the cases go down and [our athletes] can live more freely without that added anxiety.”
After a year filled with that adversity and a need to fight through it, the team will welcome normalcy with open arms. While the 2021-2022 season didn’t finish with a championship, these Bobcats learned lessons about resilience and leadership that they’ll carry for years to come.

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star