Women’s basketball missed 17 free throws on Saturday in a 56-46 loss to Interstate 35 rival University of Texas-San Antonio, making it the team’s seventh loss in the last eight games.
“We executed our game plan with the exception of the free-throw line,” said Coach. “That is the name of the game.”
The ball club went 30 percent from the field making 15 baskets the entire way, and made 13-30 free throws. The Bobcats shot 27.3 percent from behind the three-point line, connecting on three out of 11. All three came in the second half.
“Offensively, the thing we look to do is attack,” Antoine said. “We said attack and be aggressive. Push in transition to open looks and get to the free-throw line and knock down your shot, and we’re going to be okay. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t finish at the free-throw line and hit some shots.”
Senior guard Diamond Ford led all scorers with 17 points, going 5-19 from the field and 6-10 from the charity stripe. Ford is the leading scorer in the conference at 20.8 points per contest but failed to reach her average.
“I do give (UTSA) a lot of credit because they ran a lot of different girls at me defensive wise,” Ford said. “At halftime, one of my coaches told me to be more aggressive in the second half and get to the free-throw line so I can get a rhythm going. I just think I was forcing up shots and needed to be more patient.”
Texas State held UTSA to 5.9 percent from beyond the arc, one out of 18, in Saturday’s matchup. The Roadrunners did not connect on a 3-point field goal attempt in the first half going 0-12. They shot 36.9 percent from the field in the contest.
“They were one of 18 from the three. That played right into what we were looking to do,” Antoine said. “We were looking to protect ourselves in the paint, force them into bad shots. They took a lot of threes that weren’t necessarily the best. That played into our overall defensive game plan.”
The Roadrunners out-rebounded the Bobcats, 51-40. A key reason the Bobcats were out-rebounded was because the WAC’s leading rebounder, junior forward Ashley Ezeh, was sidelined with a knee injury. Ezeh averages 16 points a game and grabs a conference-high 10 boards per contest. Antoine expects her back before the WAC tournament.
“I think Ashley is going to be out for weeks,” Antoine said. “It’s a knee injury. She’ll be back before we head off for the tournament. We anticipate her being back mid to late February.”
Ezeh averages a double-double and controls what goes on in the paint. Junior guard Jasmine Baugus said it was important for someone to step up in Ezeh’s absence for this game.
“I knew we weren’t going to play with Ezeh,” Baugus said. “Somebody had to step up, and I just want to be the person to step up and get our team going. I wanted to get some intensity and some fire going out there because nobody wanted to lose this game.”
Baugus ended the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. She started the game scoring six of the Bobcats’ first eight points and helped Texas State jump out to an early 14-10 lead. She said the lack of free throw shooting is what eventually cost them the game.
“We just had to keep attacking and finishing our free throws,” Baugus said. “Tonight we didn’t shoot so well from the free-throw line, and that’s just getting in the gym and shooting free throws over and over again, so when pressure situations come up we can just knock them down.”
Texas State fell to 1-6 in conference play and sits in ninth place in the WAC. The Bobcats are 4-4 at home, but have lost the last three at Strahan Coliseum. The Bobcats will continue their three-game home stand on Jan. 24, when they take on the University of Idaho.
By The Numbers: Ashley Ezeh
Ezeh’s shooting percentage this year, highest on the team. She shot over 50 percent last season, also highest on the team.
Rebounds per game, highest on the team. Ezeh has nine rebounds in each of the last three games she played in, following a 26-point, 17-rebound performance in a two-point loss to San Jose State University on Dec. 29.
Points per game, second highest on the team. Ezeh is just four points behind Diamond Ford as the Bobcats’ point average leader. Ford averages 20.8 points per game. Erin Peoples, the team’s third leading scorer is averaging 9.5 ppg.
Free throw percentage, third best on the team. Despite being a post player - players that typically struggle with foul shooting - Ezeh’s 71.8 percent shooting trails only Ayriel Anderson and Diamond Ford’s percentages. Without Ezeh’s free throws, Texas State shoots just 64.3 percent from the line. Their opponents are shooting 74.7 percent.