By Reily Chestnut
Assistant Sports Director
Bask in the greatness of this year’s Texas state Women’s Basketball team. They have accomplished something that hasn’t happened in a decade; by beating Georgia Southern Eagles 60-51, they won their 20th game of the season for the first time since 2008. It goes without saying if you don’t respect history you might be doomed never to make history (quote credited to me).
I bring up that quote because during halftime the Bobcats celebrated the 10th anniversary of that 2008 squad, hoping to join their exclusive company as the sixth 20-win squad in program history. Spoiler alert… they did. However, it wasn’t easy despite the Eagles flying low in the Sun Belt standings coming into Strahan Coliseum. In fact, Georgia Southern had won only five games all season. No matter because they scared Texas State into fighting shape. If the Bobcats wanted their 20th win, they would have to earn it. To their credit, I’d say the Bobcats showed they deserved this win… by playing hard nosed defense.
They held the worst shooting team in the Sun Belt to 33 percent shooting. Specifically, Georgia Southern went 4-for-21 from three-point land. But when the Bobcats have shot 38 percent the last two games, then defense has to be your M.O. to survive a storm. Especially in the third quarter when Texas State gave up 24 points to the Eagles… after giving up just 17 points in the ENTIRE first half. Let’s just chalk that third quarter up to great adjustments against Texas State’s elite defense. When it’s all said and done, Texas State withstood the onslaught and took home their 10th home win of the season.
Like always, Texas State got a gritty play from the usual suspects. Junior Toshua Leavitt led the team with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting with three long range missiles. Senior Taeler Deer gave the Bobcats another well-rounded effort with 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Fellow senior Ericka May only scored four points, but pulled down 14 rebounds while Ti’Aira Pitts fought through foul trouble and blocked two shots to anchor the Bobcats defense down low. Those performances don’t surprise me as much as Zelor Massaquoi’s stats did. The graduate forward’s season-high 11 points, making all five of her free throws, sliced up the Eagles’ interior defense. It took a full team effort to cap this historic day and that is what the Bobcats managed to do.
This win sets up a second seed winner-take-all match up next Saturday against our in-state rivals, the UT-Arlington Mavericks. Will revenge be served by Texas State after losing to UTA in over time 61-59 out in the Metroplex? Go to Strahan Coliseum or tune into KTSW 89.9 at 2 p.m. next Saturday to find out for yourself.
Featured image by Robert Byrd.