Emanuel, Bobcats crash Panthers in Sun Belt debut
Zandra Emanuel needed just 53 seconds to seal Texas State’s 64-52 victory over Georgia Southern..
The Bobcats led by seven with 2:37 remaining in the final quarter of Thursday’s contest inside Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro, Ga. The senior forward set a pick for freshman guard Kennedy Taylor and rolled to the rim. Taylor found the post inside and Emanuel cashed in for a layup.
The Houston native zoomed back on defense to get into formation in Texas State’s 2-3 zone. She picked off a pass from Eagles junior guard Amira Atwater then went coast to coast for a nail-in-the-coffin layup that put the visitors up by double digits with less than two minutes left in the game.
Emanuel was everywhere for the Bobcats, picking up her first double-double of the season with 12 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, three steals and a block. Her effort helped the maroon and gold stay in front of Georgia Southern all night long.
Texas State dominated the opening minutes of the game, starting off on a 10-0 run with half of its points coming from junior guard Brooke Holle. The Eagles called timeout and raced back into the game with a 10-4 run of their own. But jumpshots from junior guard Bailey Holle, senior guard Toshua Leavitt and Emanuel halted the run and kept the Bobcats ahead by eight heading into the second quarter.
Leavitt broke the game open in the next period. The senior poured in 13 points, including two treys, to increase the visitors’ lead to 13 by the end of the half.
Georgia Southern began chipping away throughout the third quarter and most of the fourth, trailing just 55-48 before Emanuel’s four-point swing. Texas State sat on top for the final 1:44 and secured the 64-52 win in its first Sun Belt game of the season.
“I am really proud of this team," head coach Zenarae Antoine said. "We played hard and made things difficult for their scorers. We will enjoy this one tonight, but we have a quick turnaround to prepare for a tough Georgia State.”
Leavitt led the team with 21 points on 7-14 shooting, followed by Emanuel’s 12 and Brooke Holle with 11. The Bobcats outrebounded the Eagles 38-32.
Texas State (6-7, 1-0 Sun Belt) headed north to Atlanta on Saturday to conclude its road trip against Georgia State (7-5, 1-0). The game ended after press time.