Before Saturday’s ‘Pink Game,’ which raised funds for Breast Cancer Awareness, Texas State head coach Zenarae Antoine invoked the words of Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow, who died four years ago after a long battle with the disease.
“I told them, ‘When life kicks you, let it kick you forward,’” Antoine said. “It’s important that we keep moving forward, learn from our mistakes and not repeat them.”
Those words hit close to home for the Bobcats after the heartbreaking overtime loss they suffered two days earlier against UT-Arlington. Texas State had opportunities to snap a lengthy losing streak at home, but let them slip through its fingers.
When those chances showed up Saturday afternoon in a game with fourth-place Louisiana Tech, the Bobcats were ready.
Texas State deflected numerous comeback attempts by the Lady Techsters and held on for a 68-63 win. It was the Bobcats’ first victory at home since Dec. 18, 2012 and broke a six-game skid inside Strahan Coliseum.
“We battled,” Antoine said. “For those people who remember the UTA game, we were scrappy — and we found it again. They kept knocking us down. We popped right back up.”
Louisiana Tech struck first early as it jumped out to a seven-point lead. Lady Techster guard Kelia Shelton, who one-upped Texas State senior guard Diamond Ford’s 40-point performance with a 45-point game last Thursday, scored 10 of her team’s first 17 points.
How did the Bobcats respond? Emphatically.
Texas State finally looked comfortable in its own gym and rolled off a 25-4 run. During that stretch, the Bobcats made 10 of their 14 shots (five 3-pointers) with freshman guard Ayriel Anderson and junior guard Kaylan Martin handing out assists on seven baskets.
“We got into the gym and shot a lot more,” Antoine said. “We got back to who I am as a coach: I really believe great shooters — and we have so many great threats on this team — need to get shots up.”
Texas State led by as many as 14, but Louisiana Tech fought back. When the Lady Techsters closed the Bobcats’ advantage to 61-60, Anderson and Martin got to the line to seal the win.
“Coming out here and playing two whole halves was amazing,” said Martin, who scored 10 points and was one of four Texas State players in double figures. “It was the perfect day to do it.”