The UT–Arlington Mavericks travel to San Marcos Wednesday to take on the Bobcats with an overall 1–14 record, having the worst point differential in the conference.
Texas State and UTA are in their first season in the Sun Belt Conference. Last season, as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, the Mavericks finished last with a 7-23 overall record.
The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 matchups against the Bobcats. Five games were decided by fewer than 10 points.
“I’m really excited to play UT-Arlington. All records, all statistics are truly out the door,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “They’ve played very close games thus far—they’re a team. Although they have a shorter bench, they’re still believing and playing with a lot of confidence.”
The Mavericks have lost five games by single digits, not including a 74-63 loss in overtime to the 15-2 Virginia Commonwealth Rams. Mavericks’ opponents have made 31.1 percent of their 3-pointers, the fourth lowest mark in the conference.
“They’ve done a great job predominately playing zone,” Antoine said. “They understand their shifts, and I’m looking for an exciting rivalry game. It’s going to be important that we stay focused, take good shots and get to the free throw line.”
UTA has three players averaging more than 9 points. Senior guard Laila Suleiman, senior forward Briana Walker and senior center Desherra Nwanguma account for 35.8 points per game. Walker ranks in the top 10 in points and rebounds per game in the conference, while Suleiman has played a conference-high 540 minutes this year.
Texas State senior guard Kaylan Martin is averaging 9 points, 3.3 assists and 43.3 percent shooting in four games against UT–Arlington.
“I expect it to be a good game,” Martin said. “They know our game, and it’ll be tough to from start to finish.”
After losing eight of 10 games, Texas State is 3–2 in its last five games. They have a 5.4-point differential in this span.
“We got through it by remaining confident and still believing in ourselves and working harder to fix our problems,” Martin said. “I’ve seen major improvements from the start of the season. I’m really happy with where we are going, and I think we are going to get it together.”
Antoine attributes the team’s improvement to maturity.
“We have eight new faces, so you’re going to go through growing pains,” Antoine said. “As long as we are getting better and maturing, we will be okay. We are right where I’d like to be at this point in conference play. We aren’t playing our best yet, but we are