Texas State women’s basketball (5-5 overall, 2-3 Sun Belt) defeated the University of Louisiana at Monroe (2-9 overall, 0-5 Sun Belt) 74-52, snapping a three-game losing streak and moving its record to .500, on Jan. 22.
After having the last two games against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, Texas State Head Coach Zenarae Antoine says the team used the time to rest and hone in on its skills.
“I really like how our team and our coaching staff utilized this past week,” Antoine says. “Due to COVID we were sitting out, so it was important from a mental standpoint that they had time to really decompress, but at the same time it was really important too that we were able to work on areas of our game.”
Both teams came out with a lot of energy; the benches were loud and animated, and the players on the court played with intensity. The score was tied at 5-5 three minutes into the game. A 2-2 trip to the line by junior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie sparked a 12-0 run by the Bobcats to take a 17-5 lead with four minutes left in the opening period.
The Warhawks closed the gap slightly to 21-13 heading into the second quarter.
Texas State junior forward Lauryn Thompson had a strong showing in the first quarter, finishing with six points (3-5 FGS) and five rebounds in six minutes of action.
Neither team managed a significant scoring run in the second quarter. With Texas State leading 25-18, junior guard Kierra Brimzy of ULM scored 10 straight from the 6:45 mark to 1:46. The Bobcats were able to match Brimzy’s scoring burst with nine points of their own to lead 34-26 with under two minutes until halftime.
The Warhawks closed the deficit to just five points at 37-32 going into halftime.
As a whole, Texas State shot 41.2% (14-34 FGS, 4-9 3FGS) from the field and 62.5% (5-8) at the foul line in the first half. Texas State out rebounded ULM 23-12, including 11-2 on offensive boards, leading to 12 second-chance points.
Junior forward Da’Nasia Hood led the Bobcats in scoring in the first half with 14 points (6-11 FGS, 1-2 3FGS) followed by Thompson with eight points (4-6 FGS). Despite only scoring one point, junior guard Kennedy Taylor had five assists and two rebounds.
ULM shot 50% (12-24, 6-13 3FGS) from the field in the first half and 50% (6-12) from the stripe.
Brimzy led all scorers at the half with 14 points to go with two rebounds.
The Warhawks picked up where they left off in the first half, slowly chipping away at Texas State’s lead and eventually tying the game at 44-44 almost four minutes into the half. Antoine then called a 30-second timeout to regroup with her players.
“During that timeout, we really had a conversation, not just me but [the players]. We need to pick up our energy level,” Antoine says.
Out of the timeout, ULM briefly took a two-point lead before a three-pointer by Taylor reclaimed the lead for the Bobcats with 3:38 left in the third.
The jumper by Taylor sparked a 15-0 run by Texas State to take control of the game and lead, 59-46, heading into the final period. Taylor alone had eight points during the run, including two three-pointers.
Hood made an and-one layup to start the fourth quarter and extended the Bobcats’ scoring run to 18-0. Texas State limited ULM to only six points in the fourth while scoring 15 points of their own to win the game 74-52.
For the game, the Bobcats shot 40.3% (27-67 FGS, 9-23 3FGS) and 68.8% (11-16) on free throws. Texas State continued to dominate the boards, finishing with a 47-28 advantage overall and a 24-9 advantage on offensive rebounds.
“We were able to get some rebounds that were really critical,” Antoine says. “I mean, 47 rebounds for our team is awesome, especially the way the team hit the offensive glass. It might not show up as a second-chance point, but we moved the basketball, we brought it back out, we moved and executed versus just throwing up a shot just because you could.”
Hood finished the game with a game-high 23 points (9-20 FGS, 2-8 3FGS) but only had four rebounds. Although Hood did not reel in many boards, her teammates more than compensated as four Bobcats finished with seven or more rebounds, including the 5’3” Taylor.
Taylor herself had 17 points in the second half for a total of 18 (6-12 FGS, 4-6 3FGS) to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Thompson finished with 12 points (5-8 FGS) seven rebounds and two assists.
The Bobcats’ bench played a big role in the victory. Junior guard Tianna Eaton had nine points (3-8 FGS, 2-4 3FGS) and nine rebounds (four offensive). Despite only scoring three points (1-6 FGS) graduate guard/forward Gabby Standifer pulled in six offensive rebounds and seven total.
ULM finished shooting 40% (18-45 FGS, 2-12 3FGS) and 53.8% (14-26) at the line. Brimzy led her team with 16 points (6-18 FGS, 2-6 3FGS) along with four rebounds. Following Brimzy was senior forward Kierra Crockett with 13 points (5-9 FGS, 3-10 FTS), eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Texas State will face ULM again at 4 p.m. on Jan. 23 in Strahan Arena.