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Texas State women's basketball team huddles together before they begin their game against the University of Texas at Arlington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 66-45.

Texas State women’s basketball (11-11 overall, 7-8 Sun Belt) suffered an overtime loss to the Troy University Trojans (20-5 overall, 15-2 Sun Belt) 103-90 in the quarterfinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

In the early portion of the game, the Trojans showed why they were the East Division champs coming into the contest as they dominated the glass and the paint to lead by as many as 17 points in the first half.

Despite being seeded fourth in the west division, the Bobcats came back in the second half as the Trojans went cold leading to a tie game at the end of regulation. Troy dominantly came back to form in overtime to win the game and ultimately end Texas State’s season.

In the first quarter, the Trojans came out hot leading 13-7 at the 6:00 mark of the first quarter. Troy also had eight rebounds during the run.

The Bobcats stalled the Trojans with a three-pointer by junior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie to bring the score to 13-10. Troy responded with six unanswered points, all of which came from senior forward Alexus Dye to go up 19-10 with 2:50 left in the first.

Five free throws by the Bobcats kept the score within single-digits, yet the Trojans finished off the quarter with a layup from Dye to lead 23-15.

In the second quarter, the Bobcats cut the lead down to 25-20 as junior guard Kennedy Taylor made a layup while she was fouled and converted the and-one attempt. Troy followed that up with a 9-2 run to bring the score to 34-22 with 5:29 left in the half.

A pair of free throws by junior forward Da’Nasia Hood and a three-point play by sophomore Lauryn Thompson brought the game within single digits again. However, it didn’t take long for the Trojans to unleash a 10-0 run to end the period leading 48-31.

At halftime, the Bobcats were only shooting 30% (9-30 FGS, 2-3 3FGS) from the floor and were outrebounded 13 (four offensive) to the Trojan’s 28 (10 offensive). Troy also wreaked havoc in the interior with 26 points in the paint versus Texas State’s 14.

Three Trojans finished the half scoring in double figures: Dye with 18 points (9-15 FGS), senior guard Jasmine Robinson with 12 points (4-6 FGS, 2-2 3FGS, 2-2 FTS) and junior forward Felmas Koranga with 10 points (4-7 FGS, 2-2 FTS). Dye also led the team with nine rebounds, followed by Koranga with eight.

Bowie led Texas State with nine points (3-5 FGS, 1-1 3FG, 2-2 FTS). Hood (1-8 FGS, 1-1 3FG, 4-4 FTS) and junior guard Kennedy Taylor (2-5 FGS, 3-3 FTS) each had seven points. Senior guard Avionne Alexander and freshman forward Nicole Leff had three rebounds apiece.

Coming out of the locker room, Texas State started the third quarter with an 11-4 run, capped off by a second-chance layup by Leff to bring the score to 52-42 at the 6:29 mark. Taylor kept attacking the basket as she scored five points during the run.

Troy extended its lead to 63-48 2:54 left in the quarter, but the Bobcats continued to assert their offensive prowess. The Trojans finished the period leading 67-59, but the momentum was on the Bobcats’ side.

Troy attempted to bury Texas State as it earned a double-digit lead again, 75-64 with a mere 4:51 left in the game but the ‘Cats were not conquered yet. A three-pointer by Taylor and a jumper by Bowie cut the lead down to six, another jumper by Bowie soon after brought it down to five and a three-pointer soon after brought it down to four. Troy led 78-74 at the 3:19 mark.

Dye responded with a second-chance layup, but layups by Leff and Thompson along with a jumper by Taylor tied the ballgame 80-80 with 1:55 remaining.

Taylor went to the free-throw line after she was fouled on a layup, making one of two attempts to grab the Bobcats’ first lead of the game 81-80. Yet it didn’t last long as Robinson was immediately fouled by Leff on the next possession, and made both of her free throws to put Troy ahead 82-81. 

Taylor was fouled yet again in the act of shooting which put her at the line to take two more free throws. She made the first to tie the game 82-82 but missed the second. The contest would have to be settled in overtime.

After a half where they nearly lost control of the game, the Trojans took it back quickly in the five-minute overtime period. They went on a 12-2 run to grab a 96-84 lead with 1:35 left in the game.

A pair of free throws by Bowie brought the score to 96-86, but a three by senior guard Janiah Sandifer clinched the victory for the Trojans. Troy won the game 103-90 and will advance to the semi-final round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Troy was led by Dye the entire way as she finished with 37 points (16-25 FGS, 5-6 FTS), 18 boards (10 offensive) and a pair of blocks.

For Texas State, Taylor led with a career-high 28 points (10-20 FGS, 3-9 3FGS, 5-7 FTS) with five assists and four rebounds in 44 minutes of play. Bowie finished with 23 points (8-12 FGS, 1-2 3FGS, 6-6 FTS) along with five assists, four board and three steals. 

Also in scoring in double-figures was Thompson with 13 points (5-12 FGS, 3-5 FTS) and Leff with 11 points (5-8 FGS, 1-2 FTS). Leff and Alexander led the team with six rebounds each.

The loss marks the end of a Bobcats’ season. Even though the team had an average 11-11 overall record and a disappointing 7-8 conference record, the roster is fairly young as Alexander is the Bobcats’ lone senior.

Despite having raw emotions from the loss, Head Coach Zenarae Antoine takes the Bobcats’ effort against a dominant opponent as a sign for things to come in future seasons.

“Everything is still so fresh: the excitement of being able to play in a championship setting and playing the top seed and battling them all the way into overtime,” Antoine says, “Then there’s the emotional letdown everyone has when the buzzer goes and you end up on the other side. It’s still pretty fresh for me, but I can tell you there’s another level of excitement when it comes to our future.”  

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