By Jude McClaren
Assistant Sports Director
The Texas State women’s basketball team is entering a new era with the graduation of Bobcat legends Toshua Leavitt and Zandra Emmanuel. Luckily for the ‘Cats, they’ll still have some experienced players on the roster, as well as exciting young talent. Let’s take a look at the Maroon and Gold and lay out this year’s squad of Bobcats.
We’ll start where every game will begin and end– the seniors. There’s only two seniors on head coach Zenarae Antoine’s roster this season, but they know the ‘Cats and each other very well.
Brooke Holle has already cemented herself in the bobcat record books before even touching the floor in her senior season. Brooke Holle stands at 9th in Bobcat history for single-season 3-point field goals with 57 last year. She’s logged over 2,000 minutes in the Maroon and Gold, as well as averaging one of the highest rebound rates in history for a Texas State guard last season with six per game.
Next to Brooke is her sister Bailey, who may not have the same accolades at her sister, but her impact is felt just as much. Bailey Holle was on the floor for at least 20 minutes 18 times last season, allocated 10 games with multiple steals and 15 with multiple assists. Holle also snagged 38 steals throughout the season, always being a defensive menace for opposing teams.
To move on from the seniors, we’ll take a look at the other ‘Cats players who are sure to contribute to wins this season.
Arguably the biggest hole Coach Antoine will have to fill is the point guard position, left vacant by the departure of Leavitt.
Luckily for Coach Z, she has a talented sophomore, Kennedy Taylor, to lead the bobcat offense. Taylor got significant playing time last year, appearing in all 31 games last season. She showed promise in her court vision and ability to move the ball, averaging at almost five assists after taking over the starting role. She also keeps her hands active on defense, putting up multiple steals (11 times last season).
Look for Taylor to keep the offense moving while creating opportunities for the ‘Cats.
In Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball Magazine, Coach Antoine called sophomore forward Da’Nasia Hood a “highly-skilled forward for us.” That’s because of Hood’s ability to not only play in the post and bully her defenders, but also because she has a reliable outside jump shot that had her shooting 33 percent of her shots from the 3-point line last season.
Look for Hood to up her scoring average and potentially start for Texas State.
With Jazza Johns being dismissed from the team before the start of the season, junior forward Jayla Johnson’s role gets much bigger. Good news for Jayla, she’s coming off her best season as a Bobcat. Johnson averaged eight points last year and already has a lot of in-game experience, averaging 18 minutes per game with eight starts. Johnson’s season highs were 23 in points and 15 in rebounds.
Look for Jayla to bring experience to the post and be a rebounding leader for the Maroon and Gold.
The final Bobcat we’ll talk about is junior transfer forward Lillie Moore. Moore comes for Kansas City Kansas Community College where she was the star player on the Blue Devil squad that won the 2019 NJCAA DII national championship. Throughout the season, Moore averaged 14 points and seven rebounds, but what was more impressive was her performance in the clutch. During the quarterfinal and semifinal games of tournament, Moore totaled 44 points, and 26 rebounds over the two-game stretch to get KCKCC to the title game.
Look for Moore to be a scorer in the clutch and a post scoring threat on the team.
The Texas State Women’s Basketball season ended last year in a one-point loss to South Alabama during the second round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. This season, the Bobcats will aim to go deeper into post-season play with a balanced roster consisting of a solid young core and a talented group of upperclassmen. We’ll have to wait until November 5 to see the Maroon and Gold on display, but it’ll surely be season full of excitement in Strahan Arena.
You can follow the Women’s basketball team all season long on @KTSWSports on Twitter, and tune into games on KTSW 89.9.
Featured image courtesy of Texas State Athletics.