Texas State chases Sun Belt lead as conference play heats up

Sports Reporter

The Texas State women’s basketball team will face off against the Georgia State Panthers Wednesday for the first time this year.

The Bobcats have played seven of nine Sun Belt Conference teams this season. The team is 7-3 in conference and is on a four-game winning streak.

“The way the schedule sets up is interesting, because we’ve played some teams twice,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “That makes it a little different because we haven’t played (Georgia State), and we (are) already getting deeper into February. They are just a new fresh face, who is no different than us, because they are at the top of the standings.”

Georgia State is 6-4 in the conference with a 5-2 record in its last seven games. The Panthers will move into second place if they defeat Texas State.

“They have some really good height,” Antoine said. “They are very good in their zone and in transition offense. We have to score and take care of the ball against the zone, as well as box out and contain their very good guard play.”

Panthers senior guard Kendra Long is averaging a team-high 13.1 points, and junior guard Alisha Andrews, the shortest player in the conference standing at 4 feet 11 inches, is averaging 8.5 points, 4.9 assists and three rebounds.

Texas State won its 10th game Saturday, matching last year’s total. The Bobcats, who were projected to finish ninth in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll, are currently 1.5 games behind first place Arkansas State.

Junior guard Meghan Braeuer started eight consecutive games after beginning the year on the bench. Braeuer is averaging 31 minutes of playing time and 8.75 points while shooting 39 percent during the four-game streak.

“We are going into the game to hopefully continue the winning streak,” Braeuer said. “I’m confident our team can win from here on out to the conference tournament. We have eight games left, and we are not done.”

Georgia State ceded second place in the conference after losing consecutive games to UT-Arlington and Arkansas State. The Panthers allowed 36 free throws in the 80-75 loss to Arkansas State.

“We are solely in second place,” Braeuer said. “We have Georgia State coming up, and they are right behind us. They’ll be coming for us. We are ready. We aren’t going to back down. ”

Texas State will be within a half-game of the conference lead with a win and an Arkansas State loss.

"Coach Antoine tells us to keep being hungry,” Braeuer said. “We have the targets on our backs, so we have to be the hungry ones. We still aren't satisfied. We want to make history here. We can win this conference, the conference tournament and move on to the NCAA Tournament.”