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The University Star

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The University Star


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Women’s basketball score season-high to beat Georgia Southern


Texas State senior guard Avionne Alexander (1) tracks a UTA player who dribbles down the court during the first quarter of the game, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 66-45.

Texas State women’s basketball (11-10 overall, 7-8 Sun Belt) beat the Georgia Southern University Eagles (11-13 overall, 5-9 Sun Belt) in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament 94-61 on March. 5.

Texas State’s 94 points are not only a season-high for the Bobcats but also the most points the team has scored in a conference tournament.

Before the start of the game, Georgia Southern’s leading scorer, senior guard A’Tyanna Gaulden, had been dismissed from the program for undisclosed reasons.

On the court, the Bobcats played their best and most complete game of the season, dominating both ends of the floor.

The Maroon and Gold started the game playing man-to-man defense, instilling the confidence they could limit scoring opportunities and force turnovers.

Junior forward Da’Nasia Hood, who is leading the Sun Belt with 16 points per game, flipped the script and led the charge defensively, forcing two charges early and setting the tone for what was to come. Texas State had an 11-6 lead with 4:01 left in the first, turning six Georgia Southern turnovers into seven points.

After the first media timeout, the Bobcat’s offense started to kick into gear, with junior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie lasering in a chest pass to junior guard Tianna Eaton for an easy layup to go up 15-6. The Bobcats capped off a 14-0 run with a pair of free-throws from graduate forward Gabby Standifer to increase the lead to 21-6. The Eagles followed with their own set of free-throws to end the first quarter with a 21-8 Bobcat advantage.

Texas State forced 10 total Georgia Southern turnovers in the first quarter, leading to 13 points while limiting them to 20% (2-10 FGS) shooting. Bowie led the Bobcats in scoring with eight points (3-4 FGS).

The Maroon and Gold continued to force turnovers in the second quarter while their offense was smooth and efficient. Hood started to dominate, scoring seven points in the first 3:12 of the second quarter, with a three-pointer extending the lead to 32-12, and forcing the Eagles to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Texas State showed a full-court press, surprising Georgia Southern and forcing a 10-second violation. A layup from Eaton with an assist from junior guard Kennedy Taylor turned a 12-0 run into a 39-12 lead, with little resistance coming from Georgia Southern. This dominance carried throughout the rest of the first half, with the Bobcats scoring a season-high 50 points in the first half, while only giving up 17 points.

Texas State shot 54.8% in the first half (17-31 FGS, 3-8 3FGS, 13-15 FTS) while Georgia State had an equal percentage in field goals (4-22 FGS, 0-7 3FGS) as they did turnovers (18).

Bowie once again led the team in scoring with 14 points (6-7 FGS) and three assists. Hood had 11-second quarter points, giving her 13 at the half (5-11 FGS, 2-4 3FGS). Another notable stat: even with no field goals, Kennedy Taylor had a plus-minus of +31 in 18 first-half minutes.

The third-quarter was an offensive show for Texas State, scoring 31 points on 11-14 field goals (5-6 3FGS) and running a seamless offense. Georgia Southern tried to show life, continuing a full-court press defense. However, the Bobcats were breaking it and scoring layups at ease. Hood showed off her ability on both ends in one sequence, scoring a layup and blocking a shot on defense in ten seconds, summarizing the game in just a few brief moments. Texas State converted on seven shots in a row at one point in the quarter, with Taylor knocking down three straight threes. Her last three-pointer closed out the third quarter 81-37.

Georgia Southern continued to fight as the team went on a 22-4 run in the fourth quarter yet the deficit was too much to overcome. The Maroon and Gold walked off the floor with a 94-61 victory, their best offensive performance of the season.

Four starters ended in double figures for Texas State. Hood (7-13 FGS, 2-4 3FGS and Bowie (8-11 FGS, 1-2 3FGS) finished with 19 points each, sophomore forward Lauryn Thompson scored 14 points (5-8 FGS, 4-5 FTS) while Taylor scored 11 (3-6 FGS, 3-5 3FGS, 2-2 FTS). 

Senior guard Avionne Alexander led the team with eight assists and four steals. A complete team effort. Texas State shot 54.2% (32-59 FGS, 8-14 3FGS, 21-24 FTS) from the field. Defensively, they forced 26 Georgia Southern turnovers and held the Eagles to 2-16 from the three-point line.

The Bobcats will advance to the quarterfinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament where they will face the No.1 seed in the East Division, The University of Troy Trojans, at 11 a.m. on March  6 in Pensacola, Florida. This game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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