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Shooting slumps continue to plague Bobcats in loss to Mavericks

Texas State Women's Basketball
Monday, February 4, 2019

Texas State head coach Zenarae Antoine was mostly concerned with rebounding after the Bobcats’ 65-55 loss to Georgia Southern on Jan. 26. But rough shooting stretches from the team’s two leading scorers didn’t go unnoticed.

“You can take a look at the fact that Toshua (Leavitt) had a tough time getting herself going, Brooke (Holle), they’ve both had tough times the last two games, back-to-back,” Antoine said. “Sometimes players go through scoring slumps. I feel like that’s something I can work on with them, it’s a little bit easier. But the defensive piece with the offensive rebounds just really hurts you, it just puts a lot, a lot of pressure on you to score.”

The maroon and gold did a better job on the boards on Saturday, taking a 35-33 advantage and giving up just eight offensive rebounds. But Leavitt and Holle’s slumps continued, as Texas State dropped its third consecutive game, falling to UT Arlington on the road Saturday, 68-53.

Defenses have increasingly been face guarding the Bobcats’ pair of guards and switching on every screen so that neither player gets an open look on the perimeter. The strategy has wreaked havoc on Texas State’s offense.

Over the past five games, Leavitt’s shooting just 37.1 percent from the floor as her scoring average has dropped from 17.9 to 16.7 points per game. While the senior still holds a respectable 3-point percentage at 38.7 percent, the number is a little inflated by her 7-13 outing from deep against Arkansas State on Jan. 19.

Holle’s fared even worse. The junior is shooting an abysmal 14 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from beyond the arc, missing her last 12 treys. 

The increased defensive attention has also hindered the guards’ ability to make plays for their teammates. Leavitt was averaging 3.3 assists in the first 16 games of the season, but has only dished out 2.4 in the past five games. Holle’s seen a similar drop from 2.8 to 1.8.

The Bobcats’ recent struggles are not wholly on the guards. The team needs other players to step up as its leading scorers cool off. Freshman forward Da’Nasia Hood and freshman guard Kennedy Taylor have shown promise, starting in the past two games. But neither have made enough of an impact to earn a victory.

Texas State (9-12, 4-5 Sun Belt) will remain on the road for this week’s slate of games, taking on Appalachian State (11-9, 5-4) on Thursday at 11 a.m .and Coastal Carolina (11-9, 3-6) on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Antoine knows Leavitt and Holle will find their footing at some point. And the growing confidence from players like Hood and Taylor can only help. Still, the sooner the scoring slump ends, the better.

“You don’t have time to sit here and feel sorry for yourself,” Antoine said after the Georgia Southern game. “And I don’t want them to sit there and be sorry for themselves. I also don’t want them to sit there in anger. What I want to happen is, make the adjustment, go play and let’s reap the reward of that. So, when Toshua and Brooke get themselves back in good scoring position, we have other players that are going to really stress out defenses.”