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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

Decline in women’s basketball season sparks reflection

Mandalyn Lewallen
The Texas State women’s basketball team huddles together, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, at Strahan Arena.

The Texas State women’s basketball team achieved a successful 2022-23 season in terms of stats and accomplishments. The Bobcats compiled a 23-10 overall record and a 13-5 conference record. With two weeks remaining in the 2023-24 season Texas State has a 13-14 overall record and is 3-11 in conference.

The Bobcats entered the conference tournament last season as the second seed and won two games to advance to the championship round where they lost to James Madison University 81-51 ending their hopes of being crowned conference champions and earning a NCAA Tournament bid.

The Bobcats were invited to the NIT Tournament, where they lost in the first round 89-79 to Stephen F. Austin University.

“With our group last year, you had veterans— those who have been through the ups and downs of being a college athlete, who fought for five years for playing time,” Texas State Head Coach Zenarae Antoine said. “They had time to grow with each other, learn the stress and build on that and themselves.”

Following the season Antoine was named as the 2023 Sun Belt Coach of the Year and was awarded a contract extension that will keep her with Texas State through the 2025-26 season.

The end of the season also brought a major change to the program as Texas State lost several key contributors such as graduate student forward Da’Nasia Hood, graduate student guard Kennedy Taylor and redshirt senior forward Lauryn Thompson among others to graduation.

Antoine utilized the transfer portal to reshape the roster by adding veteran players such as graduate student guard Ja’Niah Henson, graduate student guard Gara Beth Self and junior forward Jaylin Foster.

In total the 2023-24 team comprises of eight new players with just four returning faces.

“The changes with our roster, with players leaving or deciding not to play once the roster had been set, has forced us to evolve throughout the season and forced changes on a group that’s relatively new,” Antoine said.

Despite the talent and experience Antoine and her coaching staff brought to the program the 2023-24 season hasn’t been what anyone expected.

Texas State went 9-3 during the non-conference portion of its schedule but took a step back once conference play arrived. The Bobcats lost its conference opener 70-69 to Georgia Southern on Dec. 30 at Strahan Arena.

The team rang in the new year with a 67-58 win at Appalachian State, renewing its hope ahead of a three-game road trip. Unfortunately, the Bobcats didn’t clinch a win for five straight games, and after a win against South Alabama on Jan. 25, continued on a downward spiral they have not been able to overcome.

Currently, the Bobcats sit 12th out of 14 teams in the Sun Belt rankings with a 3-11 record in conference play and are on a two game losing streak.

With only two weeks remaining until the conference tournament, Foster said the team must start playing more consistently in order to make a run to get back to the championship round for a second straight year.

“To win, it’s going to take finding that consistency to kind of get us turned around- we just got to dig deep in our heart,” Foster said. “Every team’s fighting and we have no excuse not to fight for ourselves.”

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