Coming off Saturday’s defeat to the University of Denver, Texas State women’s basketball will host the University of Texas—Arlington Thursday, a team the Bobcats have already defeated this year.
Rebounding and slow starts have become an issue in recent games, but Texas State hopes to eliminate such mistakes.
“If we would’ve started off better in the second half in more games, we would’ve blown teams out basically,” said freshman guard Ayriel Anderson. “We need to get ourselves motivated defensively in the beginning of games.”
In their previous meeting, the Mavericks’ only conference win in 2013, UTA outrebounded Texas State by a 52-37 differential. It was the Bobcats’ first time playing without junior Ashley Ezeh, who was out with a knee injury. Before her injury, Ezeh was second in the WAC in defensive rebounds and third in offensive boards.
The Texas State squad has been without Ezeh on the active roster for the previous six games. In those six, the Bobcats have been out-rebounded by their opponent for a combined 277-212. Twelve of Texas State’s 13 losses this season were because of failure to win the rebound game.
Texas State allowed 23 second-chance points in its six-point loss to the Mavericks. Mavericks junior Briana Walker notched a double-double in the affair, putting up 14 points and 16 rebounds. Walker is second in rebounds for the Mavericks, averaging 5.4 per game.
“The most important thing with (Walker) is to move our feet and not foul her,” said Coach. “Force her into difficult shots and box out and rebound. The one thing we didn’t do was a good job with boxing out. There are times when the offensive player gets the rebound out of sheer hustle, but we didn’t even make it difficult for her.”
Although the Bobcats have been struggling on the boards during Ezeh’s absence, other players have been contributing to the offense and rebounding. Freshman Erin Peoples is coming off two straight double-double outings, a combined 27 points and 21 rebounds.
“Erin’s just a tough kid and a hard worker,” Antoine said. “She’s very good with accepting instructions. If you put her to task, she’s going to do the best she can. She’s going to do it for herself, family and Texas State, and that’s what you have to love about her. And she’s always ready to go to work.”
Texas State has had difficulty in recent games with putting points on the board early. In its last four games, Texas State has averaged 26 points in the first half. In the second half, Texas State averages just shy of 34 points per contest, almost a 10-point differential.
The Bobcats will face Louisiana Tech University Saturday, Feb. 9, in Texas State’s annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness. Louisiana Tech comes into the weekend with a 6-4 conference record, 10-11 overall. Former New York Liberty WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon brings the Bulldogs to San Marcos in her fifth full season as head coach.
Follow Bert Santibanez on Twitter: @BTsantibanez