Bobcats split season series after losing to Trojans 77–70

Sports Reporter

The Texas State women’s basketball team scored 33 points in the final 12 minutes of Wednesday’s game against the Arkansas—Little Rock Trojans, but went on to lose 77–70.

With 59 seconds remaining in the second half, the Bobcats cut the Trojans’ 18-point lead to 2 points. UALR junior forward Taylor Ford converted on a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, giving the Trojans a 5-point lead. The Trojans forced a turnover on the ensuing possession and closed the game with a victory. Texas State is the third team this season to score 70 or more points against the Trojans’ top-ranked defense.

Ford and UALR junior forward Taylor Gault combined for 34 points and 11 of 24 shooting. Gault scored a game-high 23 points, her fifth game with at least 20 points in her last six games.

Texas State dropped to seventh in the Sun Belt with a 3–3 conference record after Wednesday’s loss. They are 3–3 all-time against the Trojans, with each loss occurring in Little Rock.

“The team really battled,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “UALR has a deep tradition, they have banners hung, and we just fought and battled down the stretch. As a coach, you always want the victory, but we came awfully close.”

The Bobcats missed 17 of 26 shots in the second half, but they compensated with 26 free throw attempts. Senior guard Kaylan Martin, senior center Ashley Ezeh and sophomore guard Ayriel Anderson combined for 15 of 20 shooting from the line.

UALR made 57.7 percent of its shots and outscored the Bobcats by 8 points in the paint.

“We started getting to the free throw line and being more aggressive,” Antoine said. “We cut into the teeth of their defense and just made it really difficult for them to stop us.”

Senior forward Jasmine Baugus tallied 2 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

“Jasmine Baugus did a great job from an emotional standpoint,” Antoine said. “You don’t see it in the stat line, but she was all over the place, grabbing rebounds and hustling. She was a really important part of the game.”

The Bobcats head home Saturday to play the Troy Trojans. Texas State is 5–4 at home and 1–7 on the road.

Troy is averaging 80.1 points per game, the highest mark in the conference. Senior guard Joanna Harden is averaging a conference-high 25.2 points per game for the Trojans’ 28th-ranked Division I offense.

“When you look at Troy, they have a really dynamic scorer in Joanna Harden,” Antoine said. “She’s leading the conference in scoring, and she can score in so many ways. It’s tough, as a defense, to stop a dynamic player like her. We just really need to limit her shots as much as possible, and make it difficult for her to score.”

Troy has the lowest-ranked defense in the conference, placing 339 out of 343 Division I teams. Only three Sun Belt teams have been outscored by more points per game than Troy.

“I expect us to come out and play well,” Antoine said. “Troy is a very tough offensive team, but we are also progressing on offense and showing some nice flashes. We just need to put it together.”