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Above, Texas State graduate senior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie drives through UTSA’s defense absorbing contact on her way to the hoop. Bowie led the Bobcats to a 60-55 win over the Roadrunners with a team-high 16 points on Wednesday. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

‘Play like dogs’: Bobcats stun rival UTSA, 60-55

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Despite trailing 13-1 in the first quarter, Texas State clawed its way back into the game to win 60-55 over UTSA in the I-35 rivalry on Wednesday.

After a sluggish start, head basketball coach Zenarae Antoine got the right response from her team as they entered the second half.

“What I liked was the response from halftime,” Antoine said. “The understanding of what it was going to take, the dog fight that we saw, the ‘No-quit’ attitude, Ja’Kayla Bowie getting back to her roots by being an aggressive player off the bounce, getting a lot of loose balls, hustle plays … a lot of good play from different players. It really was a complete team effort.”

In fact the message was boiled down to a simple statement.

“We’ve been doing what we ask them to do, which is play like dogs,” Antoine said. “When you talk about playing like a dogs, it means you play tough. You are finding that mental toughness to win 50-50 balls, playing aggressive, getting after loose balls, moving on the flight of the ball, and mixing up our defenses. I like that our team did to where we got to a point where we forced a timeout and had UTSA’s players frustrated. We just took advantage of that.”

As the Bobcats trailed 29-20, Texas State’s graduate senior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie stepped up in the third quarter by scoring 12 points during the period despite the fact she scored just two points in the first half.

One of the key points in Bowie’s output during the third quarter was being aggressive.

“I was looking to be more aggressive,” Bowie said “I knew one of our big scorers, Hoodie (Da’Nasia Hood) was in foul trouble as well as some of our fours. So I looked to be more aggressive and do what I’ve done since being here, which is just getting to the hole.”

Despite the slow start, Bowie was still trying to find ways to help her teammates outs.

“I was trying to give off positive energy,” Bowie said. “The last few games I haven’t been doing that. I’ve just been hanging my head and not using my voice as much. I made it a mission in this game to give off positive energies to my teammates no matter what.”

Heading into the fourth quarter trailing 40-39, Texas State got its first lead of the game when Taelour Pruitt hit a jumper to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game at 41-40.

The jumper was part of a 14-1 run by the Bobcats that flipped the game on its head with Texas State never relinquishing the lead, holding off UTSA to complete the comeback at 60-55.

Bowie finished with a team-high 16 points followed by Pruitt with 14 and Da’Nasia Hood with 12.

The victory also marked the fifth consecutive time the Bobcats have beaten UTSA marking that the senior class has never lost to its I-35 rivals.

“As someone who is a former student athlete, those teams are ones you never forget for the rest of your life,” Antoine said. “You hold on to it, love it, and cherish it. You talk about it every year and along with other people. There are certain games that are important to you as a student athlete and to able to own a rivalry game, you end up owning it for life … I’m just so happy for this team.”

“It feels good,” Bowie added. “I love rivalry games and stepping up to the plate. I love the competition and I’m very competitive. So I will be the alum that brags about this for sure.”

Texas State returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. against Loyola Marymount at Strahan Arena.

San Marcos Record

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