By Kyle Spencer
In the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament, number seven seed Texas State fell to the second seed Little Rock 62-50 in a win or go home situation. Little Rock came in on a 13 game winning streak and owns the best defense in the Sun Belt. Texas State ended their season losing 7 straight games after securing their position in the SBC tournament back in mid-February, after a win over ULM. The Bobcats ended their season with a 12-19 record after the first round loss, and also ended with a 7-13 conference record.
The Bobcats put together an impressive first half holding the Trojans to only 23 points while also putting up 22 of their own on the number one scoring defense in the conference. Senior Ayriel Anderson asserted her will in the first half going for 12 points with six free throw attempts in the first two quarters. Raven Burns also contributed with nine points and two assists at the half. The defense for the Bobcats was the story of the first half, holding the Trojans to 33% shooting from the field and 0-3 from deep. This was the best half of defense that Texas State has played all year. They came as the 10th worst defense in the league allowing 72 points per game.
The 3rd quarter is when the Trojans started to pull away from the Bobcats. Sharde’ Collins took control in the 3rd period scoring eight of her 17 total points, leading the Trojans to a 12 point lead going into the 4th. In the 4th Texas State cut it to single digits twice, even getting the score to a five point margin with about six minutes left. Ayriel Anderson ended her last game of her career with 20 points, going 9-10 from the free throw line. The hard fought comeback was cut short by the hottest team in the Sun Belt, as the Trojans kept the lead in the double digits with free throws to end the game, and advance to the semi-finals.
Texas State will be headed home after their first round exit, and will be returning a huge portion of their roster next season.
Next season the Bobcats will have their leading scorer return in Kaitlin Walla. The Bobcats will also have Taeler Deer returning next season, Deer had an up and down year this year yet still managed to be the Bobcats second leading scorer. Erin People should also return next season from a torn ACL which kept her out of the entire 2015-16 season.