It did not take long for the game to get ugly for the Texas State women’s basketball team.
The Trojans started the game with a 17-2 run and never looked back. Texas State ultimately lost 87-43.
The 87 points scored by the Trojans was the highest point total the team had scored all year long.
“I think when that happens, you have to try and figure out a way to get [your team] some easy scores or some easy stops [defensively] so that they can regroup and get what you’re saying to them,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “That can be a difficult task when things aren’t executed the way you would like, but I can say that even at halftime, our team still believed and that’s a positive.”
Texas State started out the game defensively in a 2-3 zone, but after the Trojans picked apart that defense in the first half, the Bobcats adjusted with a man-to-man defense.
“For the guards I feel like they penetrated and kicked out to open shooters,” said Ayriel Anderson, junior guard. “They also penetrated the gaps in the zone or when we went man.”
Arkansas-Little Rock had four players score more than 15 points.
Alexius Dawn, Trojans junior guard, was a key reason to the hot start for the Trojans. She scored 18 points in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. Dawn finished the game with 23 points.
Shanity James, Trojans junior forward, finished with the game’s only double-double. She scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Bobcats whittled the deficit down to 16 points with 09:34 remaining in the first half, but the Trojans never let the Bobcats that close for the rest of the game.
Anderson said the Trojans did a good job at hedging all the screens up top pretty hard, making it difficult to get inside.
The aggressive defense by the Trojans led to 11 Bobcat turnovers, which translated to 22 points for the Trojans.
The game plan for Texas State was to get the ball to the inside. The Bobcats wanted to feed Kileah Mays, junior center, the ball in the post, get dribble drives with their guards using screens and find open 3-point shooters.
“When you watch film of the teams that have come close to beating [UALR] – they only have four losses – but the teams who have beat them or come close have scored in the paint,” Antoine said. “It was really important for our post players to be able to score for us in the paint, as well as for us to be patient enough to not take quick threes or mid‐range jumpers and score at the free‐throw line.”
The Bobcats will not qualify for the NCAA tournament, but the season is not necessarily over according to Antoine.
“We have a pretty decent RPI and played a great team in Arkansas‐Little Rock, who’s top three defensively in the country,” Antoine said. “I think we definitely have some room to say we might still have a shot [at postseason play].”
With the loss, the Bobcats are eliminated from the Sun Belt conference tournament and drop to a 17-14 overall record.