Coming off their first WAC win this season, the Texas State women’s basketball team will look to ride that momentum into a matchup with Interstate 35 rival University of Texas-San Antonio.
“We know it’s a big game,” said junior guard Jasmine Baugus. “We know we have to get this win because we need to start winning and keep winning because it’s a big win against a big rival that we need to get.”
The Roadrunners (9-8, 3-3) come into Strahan Coliseum looking to build on the two-game win streak they currently have in conference play. UTSA will be led by sophomore guard Kamra King, who leads the Roadrunners with 10.5 points and 2.1 steals per game.
When both teams meet on Saturday, something will have to give. Texas State (7-9, 1-5) currently has the second best scoring offense in the conference averaging 73.1 points a game. UTSA has the best scoring defense in the WAC giving up 54.8 points per contest. Coachthinks playing different teams all year should help them a little bit.
“We’ve played a variety of teams playing in the WAC,” Antoine said on playing a bigger team like UTSA. “Also, in the preseason we’ve seen a lot of different looks. Scoring-wise for us, I’m not as stressed out as I am about our ability to keep them off the boards, protect the paint, limit points in the paint. I’m pretty comfortable with the match-up.”
The ball club will get the conference’s leading rebounder back in junior forward Ashley Ezeh. Ezeh missed the last contest against University of Texas-Arlington because the coaches wanted to give her rest. Antoine expects her to pick up right where she left off.
“She’s obviously an anchor in the center,” Antoine said. “She opens up quite a bit when we feed her the ball. She’s going to demand, on occasion, some double teams and even at times triple teams. Her ability to score versus the double teams or just find the open woman is going to be important. On the defensive side of the ball, she averages a double-double so she can rebound and it lightens the load a little bit for some of our fours and fives coming into play.”
The Bobcats currently rank eighth out of 10 teams in defense, giving up 72.1 points per contest. They rank last in rebounds, letting their opponents come away with 49.3 boards per game. UTSA is ranked third, grabbing 40.4 rebounds per game and lets their opposition come away with only 38.2 boards per contest – second best in the WAC.
Baugus knows rebounding and defense has been a weakness of the team, and they have emphasized getting better at both ends this week.
“If we can keep our defense up, we can win any game,” Baugus said. “Coach has been preaching to us about defense and rebounds. All she tells us every day is that those two things win games and not points.”
Last year Texas State and UTSA split the season series, 1-1. Each team won at home, and this year the Bobcats are looking to get a leg up on their I-35 rivals on Saturday, two games behind the Roadrunners in the early conference season.
The women’s basketball program will be honoring the 2002-2003 Southland Conference championship team on Saturday. That championship unit defeated UTSA in the championship game 68-56. The team was led by Tori Talbert’s 22 points and 11 rebounds.