Late in her team’s 73-56 loss Thursday night to Utah State, Texas State head coach Zenarae Antoine called timeout with her team well out of the game. To many, it was a head-scratching moment; but not to Antoine and the Bobcats.
“I just wanted to jump-start them, you know,” Antoine said. “I wanted to make them understand what it is we’re looking to do.”
Texas State junior guard Jasmine Baugus and four of her teammates on the court at the time knew exactly what Antoine wanted to say as they retreated to the bench.
“We’re not a team that’s going to let up, no matter how many points a team is up on us,” said Baugus, who notched her third double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. “We’re going to fight until the end.”
If the Bobcats only trailed by eight at the moment when Antoine taught her team a lesson, overtime would have been a real possibility. Texas State reeled off an 8-0 run over the final 1:31 of the second half.
That wasn’t the case for the Bobcats, who had seen the Aggies open up a 25-point lead by the time Antoine called her fourth timeout.
“We were completely misfiring and it didn’t matter if it was offense or defense,” Antoine said. We needed to get back in a rhythm and be who we are.”
Texas State never hit a stride against Utah State. It was supposed to be a game between two of the top scoring offenses in the Western Athletic Conference. Only one team showed up Thursday night and it wasn’t led by senior guard Diamond Ford.
By halftime, the Aggies held a 14-point lead and the Bobcats shot 20.6 percent from the field (7-of-20).
“When two offensive teams meet each other, it’s truly going to come down to: ‘Are you hitting the shots?,’” Antoine said. “We didn’t — and that’s how we initially started a snowball effect.”
Ford, who entered the game 57 points shy of the program’s single-season scoring record, was hardly a factor. The senior from Houston missed 19 of her 24 attempts and finished with a team-high 15 points.
No one helped shoulder the burden from Ford. Texas State’s usual suspects (freshman guards Ayriel Anderson and Erin Peoples) combined to shoot 3-of-18 from the field.
“She felt that pressure,” Antoine said. “That’s always been tough for Diamond.
“If you look at her history throughout the year, when she has to be the sole bread-winner — if you will, for the team — it does put a lot of pressure on her.”
Texas State must find a way to create some offense around Ford, because the last thing Antoine’s team wants to see is Ford putting up 40 points for a second time against San Jose State in another losing effort. This time on senior day.