Jayla Johnson shoots off against a St. Thomas player.

Texas State Closes Out 2018 by Dusting the Dust Devils

By Reily Chestnut
Sports Director

2018 saw plenty of highs and lows for Texas State women’s basketball, but it looks like the Bobcats managed to end the year with a 89-25 win over the D-II Texas A&M International. This win helps us transition from the holly jolly ride of non-conference play into Sun Belt action next year.

Victory was expected to be in the Bobcats’ grasp much like their male counterparts when they spanked Howard Payne two days ago. You didn’t expect this game to mean much more than what it was: a trap game that would test how well the ‘Cats kept themselves together during their holiday retreats back home. Head Coach Zenarae Antoine stated in her pregame interview with Bobcat radio voice Clint Shields that she was happy the girls triumphed over holiday feasts and came back down on Dec. 29 in good shape for practice.

So you wouldn’t have had much doubt about how the Bobcats would perform tonight against the TAMIU Dust Devils, even though Antoine had to make a small change to the starting order.

Sophomore forward Jayla Johnson was given the chance to start for the first time and didn’t disappoint. The Dallas native used her high energy style of play to light up the Dust Devils for her first career double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Meanwhile, the usual suspects like senior Toshua Leavitt earned her first double-double with 18 points and 10 assists to push the offense all around those sly Dust Devils. But these two players weren’t the only Bobcats to break out big time on New Year’s Eve.

Freshman Da’Nasia Hood punched her ticket into the game later on and never stopped flying first class. The Wagner high school alum scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Hood had only scored 22 points all season heading into her eighth appearance of the season. This is why I enjoy these games: you just don’t know which Bobcat is going to make the most of lesser competition and shine brighter than usual. Hopefully she can continue to build forward for the future.

The win breaks the Bobcats’ three-game losing streak to cap the calendar year with a much needed tune-up game that will give this young group some confidence heading into the 2019 Sun Belt swing. The Bobcats, now 5-7, will face Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Georgia this Thursday at 5:30. Catch the game, starting at 5:15, on KTSW 89.9.

Featured photo by Texas State Athletics.

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