Bobcats' season ends with overtime loss to Eastern Washington
Photo by Gerald Castillo
Zenarae Antoine wanted to make history with her team.
The sixth-year Texas State head coach hoped to capture her first postseason win with the Bobcats (16-15, 11-7 Sun Belt) in Thursday’s contest against Eastern Washington (19-13, 12-6 Big Sky). Texas State, however, fell to the Eagles, 66-62, in overtime despite holding a 16-point advantage over EWU in the first half.
“This game is really tough,” Antoine said. “No one likes losing, especially your last game of the season ending your season that way. The way we lost, really for me, is disappointing because I felt like the players had a good understanding of what we needed to get done and we struggled.”
Both teams battled early in the opening quarter but junior guard Kaitlin Walla helped boosted the Bobcats with two 3-pointers in the frame. Walla exited the first period with the 11 points and aided Texas State to a 24-15 advantage.
Walla added five points in the second quarter and the Bobcats' lead ballooned to 36-20. But the junior guard from Georgetown, who had a game-high 16 points in the second period, suffered a hyperextension to her left arm, which kept her out of the rest of the opening half. Eastern Washington took advantage of Walla’s absence and only saw itself down 38-28 at the half.
The Eagles continued to pressure the Bobcats in third quarter and outscored their opponent, 21-10, to head to the fourth period leading 49-48.
The two teams traded points in the final period of regulation and with the game tied at 55-55 in the final moments Texas State had a chance to end the contest but couldn’t end the game into overtime.
Eastern Washington outscored the Bobcats 11-7 in the overtime period to secure the win and end Texas State’s season.
“Honestly this entire end of the season was disappointing,” Walla said. “I mean, the game before this (against Louisiana-Lafayette) is still bugging me that last second shot. There’s this little place along the line, all those games weren’t lost on the last second, they were lost three quarters beforehand, those four quarters beforehand. So, that’s what’s really disappointing because I think this team is a lot better than this.”
After Thursday’s disappointing outcome, Antoine said she’ll have to continue to work to help the Bobcats win in the postseason.
“It’s not okay to be one-and-done in postseason,” Antoine said. “This is my third opportunity in postseason and we’ve yet to make history by being able to advance. That’s my dream that I have for this program and this season, and now it’s something I have to keep fighting for and find a way to get.”
Senior guard Erin Peoples, who finished Thursday’s contest with 11 points and five rebound, and played in her final game with Texas State, said she expects the Bobcats to bounce back next season.
“Overall, I wish it didn’t end this way,” Peoples said. “But I’m praying for them and wishing the best of luck to them next season.”
But Thursday’s outcome leaves a bitter feeling for the returning Bobcats.
“I think this team has the caliber of being a championship team,” Walla said. “I thought that all year. I’ve been saying that all year. To end this way is definitely disappointing, it definitely irks people … Honestly, I think this year is more disappointing than last year just because we were so close. There was stretch there where we showed we were a championship caliber team.”