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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 defeats Lamar in home opener

In its first home game and final non-conference game of the season Dec. 19, Texas State women’s basketball (3-2) defeated Lamar University (1-6) 69-53 after a strong second half.

The win was the second in a row for the Bobcats and brought their record over .500 for the first time this season.

The first quarter was a low scoring affair as both teams combined for 14 turnovers. The Bobcats built a 9-4 lead midway through the period, but they failed to score for the remaining 5:28, allowing the Cardinals to close the gap to 8-9 to end the opening quarter.

The second quarter saw much more production offensively as both teams cut down on turnovers and picked up easy points at the free-throw line. Lamar was first to put up points in the second as junior forward Micaela Wilson scored a layup from the left block to take the lead 10-9.

Junior guard Kennedy Taylor would retake the lead for the Bobcats with a pair of free throws before junior center Umaja Collins put Lamar back on top 12-11.

Out of a Texas State timeout, the Bobcats went on a 10-0 run led by junior forward Da’Nasia Hood, who had five points during the stretch. Texas State’s lead increased to 21-12 with 4:32 to go in the first half.

Texas State would close out the second quarter 0-5 from the field and commit three turnovers, allowing the Cardinals to go on a 10-1 run and tie the game at 22-22 going into halftime.

Through two quarters, the Bobcats shot just 28.6% (6-21) from the field and 25% (2-8) from behind the arc. After not shooting any free throws in the first quarter, Texas State went 8-10 from the line in the second, allowing the team to stay in the game.

Hood (2-6, 1-3 three-pointers), Taylor (1-2, 3-4 free throws) and senior guard Avionne Alexander (2-3, 1-1 three-pointers) all had five points in the first half to lead the Bobcats. Taylor also had two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Lauryn Thompson led all players at the half with five rebounds (two offensive) while Hood had three.

Texas State found itself in foul trouble, racking up 11.

Lamar shot 44.4% (4-9) from the line and was 0-7 from three-point land in the first half but held a slight advantage overall from the field and on the boards, shooting 32.1% (9-28) and out-rebounding the Bobcats 19-17.

The Cardinals were led offensively in the first half by sophomore guard Malay McQueen, who led all scorers with six points (3-5), followed by junior guard Anyssia Gibbs with four (2-6) and Wilson with three (1-2).

Led by the front court duo of Hood and Thompson, Texas State took control of the game coming out of halftime. The pair scored the first nine points for the Bobcats and increased their team’s lead to 31-24.

The Bobcats gradually increased their lead throughout the third quarter as Hood continued to punish defenders in the paint and draw fouls to get to the line. Texas State closed out the final six minutes of the quarter outscoring Lamar 17-10 to take a commanding 48-34 lead heading into the fourth.

Hood scored 13 of the Bobcats’ 26 third-quarter points, going 5-6 from the field and 3-4 on free throws.

Hood says coming out of halftime she was looking to be more aggressive and get to the basket more than she did in the first half.

“I’ve been trying to work on having better third quarters; we have as a whole team, but individually just finding different ways to score when I can’t get my shot off [from] three,” Hood said.

As a whole, Texas State shot 61.5% (8-13) from the field and 76.9% (10-13) in the quarter while out-rebounding Lamar 11-7.

Texas State Head Coach Zenarae Antoine credits her team’s third-quarter run to the intelligence of her players, flaunting their cumulative 3.6 GPA. She says her team listens to the coaching staff and truly understands what is being asked of them.

“This is a really smart group of young women,” Antoine said. “Generally speaking, when you have that type of group, there is some pride in what they do, and there is an understanding, and there is a willingness to work and communicate.”

The Cardinals were unable to recover as the Bobcats cruised through the fourth quarter. Lamar did manage to cut the deficit to as low as nine points with 4:21 left in the game, but it was too little too late as Texas State went on a 12-5 run to close out the game and win 69-53.

A large part of the Bobcats’ second-half surge came from the free-throw line as they shot 74.1% (20-27) in the final two quarters.

For the game, Texas State shot 43.2% (19-44, 3-13 three-pointers) from the field and 75.7% (28-37) on free throws.

Hood finished with a game-high 22 points (8-13, 5-6 free throws) and nine rebounds.  Thompson also had nine rebounds (four offensive) and was the second-leading scorer with 16 points (4-5, 8-8 free throws). Taylor ended with 14 points (2-5, 10-14 free throws) to go with five steals and four assists.

Taylor connected with Hood for several flashy assists throughout the game. While they played well together, Hood says they are still trying to improve their chemistry.

“When we came in together [as freshmen] we played off of each other very well in practice… I think the connection is very obvious,” Hood said. “We actually are still trying to grow [our chemistry] because the first couple of games it started off kind of shaky.”

Lamar shot 39.6% (21-53, 1-17 three-pointers) from the field and 58.8% (10-17) from the line.

Senior guard Jadyn Pimentel was the leading scorer for the Cardinals with 16 points (6-8, 3-4 free throws), 12 of which came in the fourth quarter before she fouled out. Following Pimentel was McQueen (4-7) and Collins (3-3, 2-2 free throws) with eight each. Freshman center Bebe Galloway led Lamar in rebounds with seven (three offensive).

Texas State will get 12 days off to close out the calendar year before beginning Sun Belt Conference play Jan. 1. Hood believes the team is improving nicely as it enters its conference schedule.

“I know we still have a lot to work on,” Hood said. “But we’ve really been focusing on trying to progress as a team and not individually… I think we can really get to a great place if we continue to practice hard and focus.”

Next, the Bobcats will face the University of Louisiana at Lafayette at 4 p.m. on Jan. 1 in Strahan Arena.

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