Bobcats advance in Sun Belt tournament with win over Chanticleers

Photo From the Sun Belt Conference

Texas State Women's Basketball

Texas State survived a battle with Coastal Carolina on Thursday to advance to the Sun Belt Championship tournament semifinals.

The No. 2 seeded Bobcats (22-8, 14-4 Sun Belt) defeated No. 7 Coastal Carolina (17-14, 10-8), 78-69, inside Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

“I think our players clearly understood that we split with Coastal during the regular season,” head coach Zenarae Antoine said. “We had the opportunity to beat them at home, and this was a team that were going to come in, they were not going to stop, and they were going to fight their battle. … They showed us a different look defensively that, we’re always prepared, but that wasn’t what I thought we were going to see.  We were able to kind of open it up, but we weren’t able to get the stops that we needed, ultimately in the first two quarters.”

“But then as the game progressed, my kids found a way.  And I think that’s the story of March Madness, just finding a way, when everything’s on the line, to be the team that perseveres, and our team persevered today.”

Both teams fought back and forth throughout Thursday’s contest. Texas State’s offense struggled to get going, but the Bobcats escaped the opening quarter with 14-13 advantage.

Texas State began to pull away and built a lead as big as seven. The Bobcats held a comfortable 36-30 advantage with 2:21 remaining in the second quarter, but a technical foul on freshman guard Jayla Johnson swung momentum in Coastal Carolina’s favor.

The Chanticleers finished the opening half on a 10-2 run and Texas State found itself in a 40-38 hole at the intermission.

Coastal Carolina began the third quarter by scoring five unanswered, but the Bobcats answered with a 10-2 run to grab a 48-47 lead.

Texas State took a 56-53 advantage into the fourth quarter, and didn’t surrender the lead.

Senior guard Taeler Deer, who is fresh off being named Sun Belt Player of the Year, scored 22 points and added nine assists and six rebounds. Junior guard Toshua Leavitt tallied 18 points. Senior forward Ti’Aira Pitts went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and finished with 17 points and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Brooke Holle was the final Bobcat in double-figures with 11 points.

Antoine said having four players in double figures was the result of their shot selection and ability to shoot.

“Shot selection is really important to us, so any time a young woman is allowed to shoot the shot without having any stress or fear of a repercussion of taking a shot, I don’t think that what we see is any different from what we see in most games where we have three or four kids scoring double digits,” Antoine said. “As well as Taeler Deer doing what Taeler Deer does, and she had nine assists today. I mean, if you add that into her scoring average, this young woman is really able to help our team out. Not only does she demand that people guard her, but she’s also great as well and her teammates are able to knock down big shots, and so I think that’s the balance you find from our offensive standpoint.”

Texas State moves onto the play the winner No. 3 UT Arlington and No. 6 Louisiana on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for a spot in the Sun Belt Championship game.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666