Texas State senior guard Avionne Alexander (1) jumps and shoots the ball over a Ragin' Cajun defender, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats lost 67-41.

Texas State women’s basketball (4-3 overall, 1-1 Sun Belt) is headed into a doubleheader Jan. 8-9 against the Arkansas State Red Wolves (5-1 overall).

The last matchup between the two teams was Feb.15, 2020, in which the Bobcats came out ahead against the Red Wolves. The Bobcats managed to create an eight-point lead (27-19) against the Red Wolves by the end of the first quarter. Then-sophomore now junior forward Da'Nasia Hood had 10 points in the opening period en route to 21 for the game. After a 10-3 run to start the third quarter, Texas State was able to cruise to the 83-69 win.

This season, the Bobcats hang their hat on the defensive end. They are No. 2 in the conference in opponent points per game at 59.7 and No. 4 in three-point defense at 27.6%. Offensively, the team has struggled thus far. Texas State is second to last in the Sun Belt in points per game (59.3) and in field goal percentage (36.2%). Despite its positive record, Texas State averages a scoring margin of -0.4.

In comparison, Arkansas State has thrived on both ends of the ball. The Red Wolves are second in the Sun Belt in scoring per game at 85 points per game, while allowing the fewest points by their opponent (55) for a Sun Belt-best +30 point scoring margin. Arkansas State is No. 1 in the conference in assists (20.8), steals (12.7) and field goal percentage (46.4%). While only shooting 27.6% from beyond the arc, the Red Wolves make seven threes a game, which is No. 3 in the conference.

Junior guard Jada Stinson leads Arkansas State in points per game (12.7), total defensive rebounds (21) and made three-pointers per game (2.3). Stinson is ranked No. 3 in the Sun Belt in total three-pointers (14) and No. 8 in assists per game (3.7). Senior forward Peyton Martin averages 11.8 points per game on 52.4% shooting. 

For Texas State, Hood has been putting together a great start to her junior campaign. The San Antonio native ranks No. 2 in the Sun Belt in points per game (18.1), No. 7 in total three-pointers (13) and is No. 4 in rebounds per game (8.6).

Hood's frontcourt partner sophomore forward Lauryn Thompson is third on the team in scoring (9.9) and is second in rebounds (6.6) and field goal percentage (43.1%). Thompson's 95% free throw shooting is No. 1 in the conference.

Junior guard Kennedy Taylor is another consistent contributor for the Bobcats, averaging the second-most points on the team at 11.3 and is No. 2 in the conference in assists at five per game. Senior guard Avionne Alexander averages seven points per game while shooting team-highs from the field (47.7%) and three-point range (40%).

The Bobcats are coming off of a blowout 67-41 loss to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on Jan. 2. Louisiana managed to claim 27 points off of turnovers and held the Bobcats to a season-low 26.7% shooting from the field. This game came just one day after Texas State registered a season-high 48.1% shooting against the Cajuns on Jan. 2.

After losing its first game against the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff 85-68, Arkansas State has been on a hot streak, winning five straight.

Arkansas State most recently played the Central Baptist College Mustangs on Jan. 4. The Red Wolves won 85-39 against the Mustangs, advancing the Red Wolves win streak to five. The Red Wolves active defense managed to keep their opponent under 11 points per quarter, leaving no room for Central Baptist to go on prolonged scoring runs.

This will be the first set of conference games for the Red Wolves this season after their doubleheader versus the University of Louisiana-Monroe, scheduled for Jan. 1-2, was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

Texas State will take on Arkansas State in the first game of its doubleheader at 6 p.m. on Jan. 8, followed by the second game at 4 p.m. on Jan. 9. Both contests will take place at the First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and can be streamed on ESPN+.

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