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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 aims to bounce back following disappointing 2023-24 season

Mandalyn Lewallen
The Texas State women’s basketball team huddles together during the game against Marshall, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State’s women’s basketball finished the 2023-24 season with a record of 4-14 in the Sun Belt Conference and 14-18 overall.

The Bobcats came off a strong 2022-23 season where they went 23-10 overall, 13-5 in conference play and made a run in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament. However, they didn’t meet that bar this year.

Texas State started off the season showing ability while going 9-12 in non-conference games, but couldn’t keep the same energy once conference play started. Even as Ja’Niah Henson provided 14.7 points per game, the Bobcats struggled.

With key players graduating this spring like graduate guards Henson, Gara Beth Self and Timia Jefferson, the Bobcats look to try and rebuild this offseason around players like junior forward Jaylin Foster, who averaged 9.4 points per game this season while starting in all 32.

The Bobcats will begin the team rebuild with incoming recruits. Texas State currently has three commits in its 2024-25 recruiting class. The class is headlined by Saniya Burks, a 5-foot 8-inch guard from Rice High School.

As a senior, Burks built an impressive resume being nominated for 2022-23 Miss Texas Basketball and 2022-23 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. Among other accolades, she was also named to the 2023 Small Town All-America First Team.

Burks also made headlines for a game this past season in which she scored 75 points, pulled down 19 rebounds and had 15 steals.

“Saniya is the product of two parents that played Division One Basketball,” Texas State Head Coach Zenarae Antoine said. “She is a winner and a competitor in everything that she does. Her ability to score the basketball is special and fits our guard play. A huge separator in her game is her competitive spirit.”

Burks’ ability to score combined with the departure of three guards who played key minutes will provide her the opportunity to see the court immediately next season. The other two members of the recruiting class are Heather Baymon, a 5-foot 8-inch guard from Mexia, Texas, and Takeria Rainey, a 5-foot 7-inch guard from Stafford, Virginia.

Having three incoming guards will help the Bobcats replace the production of the three graduate student guards leaving the program. Antoine and her coaching staff will likely add another player or two from the transfer portal during the offseason to help fill out next season’s roster.

Next season, the Bobcats will be looking to rely on more players to lead their offense and improve their record from this season.

Players like junior guard Crystal Smith and junior forward Tiffany Tullis who averaged 4.1 and 7.5 points per game, respectively, will have to step their games up and mold further into role model positions if the team aims for a better record next year.

Other returning players for Texas State include freshman forward Julia Coleman and sophomore guard Kennedy Claybrooks, who averaged 5.9 and three points per game, respectively.

There is no current news on whether senior Bobcats like Henson, Self and senior guard Sierra Dickson will remain Bobcats, or move on to their next chapter.

As of now, the Bobcats are in a rebuilding era, and look to come back stronger with a deeper vision and a bigger impact for next season.

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