The Texas State women’s basketball team lost its second conference game at home this season Wednesday against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Western Kentucky scored 75 points on 53 shots in the 75-50 victory. The Hilltoppers have won four straight games by an average margin of 28 points. The Bobcats’ 30-point loss is their 10th loss by double-digits and the team’s third by 20 or more points this season.
Texas State’s loss snapped its five-game winning streak at home dating back to Jan. 4. The Bobcats have lost consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 22, a span of 15 games.
“Our energy level definitely wasn’t where it needed to be,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “It was something that was addressed in the locker room at halftime. I really challenged them to figure out how to get it going. There’s only so much screaming and yelling that you can do. At some point it has to come from within.”
Kaylan Martin, senior guard, missed her second game this season with “leg fatigue.”
“I’m never one for excuses, but there are situations sometimes that arise,” Antoine said. “Without having Kaylan Martin, the team really struggled. I equate it to not having (Seattle Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson in a game. She is very much that player for us.”
Martin registered three consecutive single-digit performances after finishing in double-digits in eight of 10 games, her second longest streak this season.
“I’m still hopeful that she’ll be back (for Georgia State),” Antoine said. “Regardless, we are going to have to figure a way to operate. Even if she’s back, you don’t know how much she can go. It’s my job we figure a way to compete. We are down, but we are definitely not out.”
Ayriel Anderson, sophomore guard, started in place of Martin and played 10 minutes before exiting the game with an ankle injury.
Texas State is 3-8 with Anderson as a starter and 9-6 when she comes off the bench this season.
“The game plan doesn’t change,” Antoine said. “It stays the same. It’s a matter of execution and the times when it gets tough on them. The game changes when you have Ayriel (Anderson) starting at the point, because she’s more explosive.”
The Bobcats committed 19 turnovers leading to 22 points for Western Kentucky.
“We saw a lot of mid half-court action going on,” Antoine said. “We just did not stay aggressive, and then we turned the ball over by over penetrating or doing a poor job on ball reversals. They were getting deflection after deflection after deflection.”
The Bobcats made 37 percent of their shots in the second half after shooting 30 percent in the first half.
“I think there were times where there were seeds of doubt,” Antoine said. “They struggled at times and they were really apprehensive, and that kind of snowballed from there and it got compounded when Ayriel went down with an ankle injury.”
The Bobcats are 9-6 in the conference with three games remaining.
“I still think we are in a good place,” Antoine said. “They (the Sun Belt) seed one through eight, and all teams have shown the ability to beat each other home or away.”
Texas State’s last home game is Saturday against the Georgia State Panthers. Martin and forwards Jasmine Baugus and Ashley Ezeh are the three remaining seniors on the team.
“I’ve got a soft spot for all three of them,” Antoine said. “I’m looking forward to Georgia State, and I know these three seniors are going to bring it because Texas State means a lot to them, and they are very appreciative that they are here.”