The Texas State women’s basketball team finished its season in heartbreaking fashion, falling to the top-seeded Little Rock Trojans 54-53 in the Sun Belt Conference Championship final Sunday, March 11.
Heading into Sunday’s championship game, the second-seeded Bobcats were 23-8 and riding the momentum of a seven-game win streak. The game was Texas State’s first appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Championship final and it was the Trojan’s fourth conference title win, their first since 2015.
Facing the one team ranked above them in the Sun Belt Conference, the Bobcats struggled to get their high-powered offense firing on all cylinders during the first half, surrendering the first quarter to the Trojans 13-7.
Allowing Little Rock to break away, Texas State trailed 38-20 at the half. The Trojans’ defense put the pressure on the Bobcats, holding them to their fewest first half points of the season.
Unable to find their rhythm, the Bobcats fell into a shooting slump, firing just 20 percent from field goal range and just 10 percent from beyond the three-point line.
The start of the second half was more of the same and saw the Trojans extend their lead to as many as 21 points.
Slowly beginning their climb back into the game, the Bobcats began closing the gap and closed the third period down 48-37, an 11-point deficit.
After fighting back throughout the second half, the Bobcats stole the lead for the first time in the game off a clutch three-point shot from Toshua Leavitt, junior guard. With just a little over three minutes left in regulation, the Bobcats led the Trojans 53-52.
Answering to Leavitt’s three, the Trojans retook the lead for the final time going up 54-53 off a game-sealing field goal from Monique Townson, senior guard.
Leading the Bobcats in scoring was Taeler Deer, senior point guard and 2018 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. Deer notched up 20 points and neared a double-double with eight assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Contributing 11 points, three steals, two rebounds and an assist was Leavitt.
Rounding out the Bobcats top three scorers was Brooke Holle, sophomore guard, with 10-points, seven rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
The Bobcats await the announcement of the 2018 Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The Tournament consists of 64 teams, 32 conference winners and 32 at-large teams. The teams will be announced after the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament competitors are announced.