Coach Antoine, Bobcats stamp out rival 68–60 Wednesday at Strahan

Sports Reporter

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Senior center Ashley Ezeh shoots a basket against UT- Arlington Jan. 15 at Strahan Coliseum. Texas State came out on top with a score of 68–60.

The Texas State women’s basketball team converted a season-high 26 free throws in their 68–60 victory Wednesday against UT-Arlington.

The Bobcats entered the game ranked 332 out of 343 Division I teams in free throw percentage. They converted on 17 free throws in the final 11 minutes and 30 seconds of the second half.

“There’s a familiarity, but this is a rivalry game,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “I went into this game understanding this is a rivalry game. We have to be prepared. No matter how comfortable we are—they’ve beaten us before.”

The Bobcats are 3–2 in their last five matchups against the Mavericks.

“They did a great job finishing at the free throw line,” Antoine said. “That’s what you need to do in close games—mentally get into the opponent’s head. Every time you hit a free throw, it plants a seed of doubt, and it was really important in this particular game when (UTA) closed the gap.”

Junior guard Meghan Braeuer led the team with 16 points, including 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. Braeuer, in her first season with Texas State after transferring from Midland College, has started three consecutive games.

“(Braeuer) has done a phenomenal job for us,” Antoine said. “She already knew how to win. You can’t coach how to win. You can coach something scheme-wise, but you can’t teach heart. She’s helping our team in more ways than you can see on the basketball court.”

Braeuer is averaging 10.3 points, 42.3 percent shooting and two 3-pointers per game in her last four matches.

“I did struggle in the beginning of the season,” Braeuer said. “Once we came back from break, everything just started clicking. I can’t tell you what it was, but my production has gone up.”

UTA scored 46 of 60 points in the second half. Senior center Desherra Nwanguma tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes.

“We didn’t work hard enough in the paint,” Antoine said. “I harped on it in film. (Nwanguma) is very good at what she does, and she’s very efficient. If you get lazy and flat, she ducks in and scores. Next time we face them, we have to do a better job.”
Freshman guard Kaitlin Walla led the team with 7 points in the first half in her first team, after missing four consecutive games with a hand injury. Texas State is 4–3 in its last seven games with a 3.14 point differential.

“We’ve improved every game this season,” Walla said. “We find an area where we are lacking, and we get better. I have faith in the team to get through these stretches.”