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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 looks to rebound from two straight losses as they face Little Rock

Texas+State+junior+guard+Kennedy+Taylor+%283%29+dribbles+around+Warhawk+sophomore+guard+Gara+Beth+Self+%282%29+during+the+first+quarter+of+the+game%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+23%2C+2021%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+64-50.

Texas State junior guard Kennedy Taylor (3) dribbles around Warhawk sophomore guard Gara Beth Self (2) during the first quarter of the game, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 64-50.

After falling short against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (7-5 overall, 6-1 Sun Belt) in back-to-back games on Jan. 29-30, Texas State women’s basketball (6-7 overall, 3-5 Sun Belt) is set to take on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (8-6 overall, 4-3 Sun Belt) on Feb. 2, Feb. 5 and Feb. 6.
In their game on Jan. 30, the Bobcats lost 66-60 despite starting the contest aggressively on the defensive end, forcing the Ragin’ Cajuns to turn the ball over and take ill-advised shots.
The Bobcats got off to a hot start as they took advantage of four Ragin’ Cajun turnovers and turned that into a 7-0 lead in three minutes of play.
Texas State went into halftime with a slight 30-27 lead shooting 46.4% (13-28) while only allowing Louisiana to shoot 38.5% (10-26). Second-chance points were a large reason for the Bobcats’ lead as they scored 10 points off five offensive rebounds.
Graduate guard/forward Gabby Standifer came off the bench to lead both teams in scoring in the first half with 10 points (4-5 FGS, 2-3 3FGS), eight of which she scored in the final 1:50 of the period.
Texas State extended its lead early in the second half to 36-29. Louisiana quickly got itself together as the team went on a 15-4 run to take the lead 45-40 with 1:12 left in the third quarter. The Ragin’ Cajuns shot 70% (7-10) during the run while the Bobcats went a mere 22.2% (2-9), missing many open looks along the way.
Despite going back and forth in the fourth quarter, Louisiana kept the lead for the entirety of the period, never allowing the Bobcats to gain the advantage.
Louisiana shot 65.2% (15-23) in the second half versus Texas State’s 32.4% (11-34).
For the contest, the Bobcats prevented the Ragin’ Cajuns from making many three-pointers as they shot 16.7% (2-12) from deep, yet they were burned in the interior as they allowed Louisiana to score 34 points in the paint.
Another struggle for the Bobcats was their scoring off the bench. Despite 12 bench points in the first half, they came back with zero in the second. Head Coach Zenarae Antoine acknowledges her players’ efforts, yet says she wants to focus on the issue as well.
“This is a tough string of losses on the road, especially knowing our team was able to compete — in my opinion — [with the] the top of the conference and fall just a bit short,” Antoine says. “I do appreciate our athletes gave it all they got, and I also recognize that in order to move forward, we are going to need more help off of our bench because bench production is important.”
The game came on the heels of an even tougher 66-64 defeat to the Ragin’ Cajuns the night before.
In that game, Texas State found itself in the driver’s seat in the first half as well before Louisiana took control in the second.
Once the Bobcats went ahead 5-4 at the 6:08 mark in the first quarter, they did not lose the lead until the fourth quarter.
At halftime, Texas State was up 33-28. The Bobcats shot 56.5% (13-23) from the floor while holding their opponents to 37.5% (9-24). While both teams struggled from the three-point line, where Texas State shot 25% (1-4) and Louisiana shot 22.2% (2-9), the Bobcats found success in the paint as they scored 20 points from the region in the first half.
The Bobcats came out of the locker room looking to extend their lead and did so as a three-pointer by junior forward Da’Nasia Hood put the Maroon and Gold up 40-32 with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
However, that did not bury the Ragin’ Cajuns, as they hacked away at the deficit with a 14-6 run that tied the game 46-46 in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
Louisiana continued to push forward early in the final period and took the lead 52-50 with 7:48 left in the contest, finally capturing its first lead since the first quarter.
The Ragin’ Cajuns extended its lead 57-52, but the Bobcats managed to go on a 10-2, run capped off by a three-pointer from junior guard Kennedy Taylor, to give them the lead 62-59 with 3:33 left on the clock.
With the game tied at 64-64 with 1:27 remaining, the Bobcats missed three crucial, tie-breaking shots in the same possession. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored off a pair of free throws in the final seconds to win 66-64.
Louisiana had a blistering fourth quarter as the team shot 72.7% (8-11) from the field and went 2-2 from deep. This brought the Ragin’ Cajuns game totals to 48% (24-50) overall and 42.9% (6-14) from the three-point line.
After the two losses, the Bobcats are in fifth place in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference. Antoine is optimistic they can change their fortune for the better in the remaining nine games.
“Moving forward, we don’t have that long to turn around and [get] corrected, but I’m encouraged because we have a rather youthful team that are going to put themselves into position,” Antoine says.
The Bobcats will not have to wait long to try and turn things around as they prepare to face the Trojans.
The first game on Feb. 2 will make-up for an originally postponed doubleheader from Jan. 15-16 due to COVID-19 protocols within the Trojans program. The contest will be a quick trip home for the Bobcats before they head out to Little Rock, Arkansas to play an already-scheduled two-game series with the Trojans.
The matchup is set to be a defensive showcase as both teams have tough defenses and some of the lowest-scoring offenses in the Sun Belt. Out of the 12 teams in the Sun Belt, Texas State has the No. 4 ranked defense and the No. 10 ranked offense while Little Rock has the No. 2 ranked defense and the No. 11 offense.
Texas State’s top performers going into the contest are Hood and Taylor. In the Sun Belt, Hood ranks No. 1 in points per game (17.4), No. 3 in shooting percentage (39.9%), and No. 7 in rebounds per game (8.2). Taylor ranks No. 2 in assists (5.8), steals (2.4) and minutes played (36.5).
For the Trojans, senior forward Krystan Vornes has dominated the glass as she ranks No. 3 in the Sun Belt in rebounds per game (9.4) and offensive rebounds per game (3.8). Vornes has had double-digit rebounds in each of her last six games. Junior guard Mayra Caicedo leads the Sun Belt in assists (7.6) and minutes played (36.6).
The Bobcats will face the Trojans at 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Strahan Arena. Then they will hit the road to the play the Trojans again at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 and at 4 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. All three contests will be streamed on ESPN+.

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