Bobcats pull off upset over Little Rock

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Kaitlin Walla had the most fun she’s had while playing for Texas State during its 64-47 upset win over Little Rock on Saturday.  

The junior guard from Georgetown, who tore her ACL in 2014 and admits that she’s been struggling shooting this season, scored 13 points and saw her team defeat the Trojans, who entered Strahan Coliseum with a 12-0 Sun Belt record. 

“We have all the respect in the world, I have had all the respect in the world, for Little Rock since coming here and just to beat a great team like that, and it just be a true team effort,” Walla said. “It wasn’t a fluke. This team has been getting better every game and that’s just the accumulation of the whole season, all the work we’ve been putting in. That’s the team we are. We just put a big mark next to our names saying we’re someone to watch out for.”

Head coach Zenare Antoine said seeing Walla record 13 points and senior guard Erin Peoples score six points was the best part of Saturday’s outcome.

“I think the fun part for me wasn’t just that it was the breast cancer awareness game, it was really able to give Erin (Peoples) that opportunity to play in a game against her hometown team, against a tough team,” Antoine said. “Then Kait (Walla) as well to finish the game. They’ve worked so hard since they’ve been here for me. Just to see things start to come together for them and them always believing and pushing their teammates.”

Texas State (13-10, 8-4 Sun Belt) came into its matchup against Little Rock (18-7, 12-1) on a two-game winning streak and was still riding high off an upset over UT-Arlington on Feb. 4. 

But the Trojans came out quickly and took a 6-2 lead over the Bobcats. Texas State, however, caught Little Rock and tied it 10-10 with two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Layups from Peoples and junior guard Taeler Deer allowed the Bobcats to claim a 14-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter. 

Texas State’s defense stymied the Trojans in the second quarter as it held Little Rock to seven total points. The Bobcats used the strong defensive effort to bolster their lead to double-digits and they took a 38-17 lead into the intermission. 

Little Rock opened the third quarter on a 8-2 run to cut Texas State’s advantage to 42-25. But the Bobcats boosted their lead behind a balanced offensive effort and took a 56-38 lead into the final period. 

The Bobcats only scored eight points in the fourth quarter but held the Trojan offense in check to claim their third straight win. 

Deer recorded a game-high 18 points followed by Walla’s 13. Walla said she was glad the Bobcats were able to hit their shots against Little Rock. 

“It’s fun out there,” Walla said. “It’s fun when it’s a team effort for sure. You never know, offensively, it’s a different person every night usually. We all chip in. Defensively, it’s a unit. That’s a fun team to be on.”

Antoine came into the season with high hopes, and despite struggling early in the season, Saturday’s win combined with the Bobcats' performance down the stretch keeps her beliefs that this team can be special.

“Some things take a little longer to mature,” Antoine said. “I don’t want to be cliche but there are some things that do take longer to mature and I think that’s what we’re seeing and that’s completely okay. I feel good about it because I always believed in them.”

 

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