Preview: Women’s Basketball Sun Belt tournament

todayMarch 2, 2022 68

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Carter Bordwell
Sports Reporter

Coming in as the six-seed in the Sun Belt Conference, the Texas State women’s basketball team (14-13 overall) will take on the eleven-seeded South Alabama Jaguars (8-17 overall) in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament Wednesday afternoon in Pensacola, Florida.

This matchup will be the first time that these two teams have played all season after the game got canceled due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 issues.

Leading up to the tournament, The Bobcats lost to Little Rock 70-53, while South Alabama defeated Texas Arlington 62-52.

Despite the loss, head coach Zenarae Antoine believes Texas State will have the advantage in the tournament because they played more games than almost anybody in the Sun Belt conference due to COVID-19 issues.

“As we head into the tournament, I have no fear because we have played a lot of games and we didn’t hide from anybody. We have been tested,” Antoine said.

The Bobcats come into this tournament with the 4th ranked scoring defense in the Sun Belt with just 65.7 points per game, and the 7th ranked scoring offense with 68.4 points per game.

The Jaguars ranked 10th in both defensive and offensive scoring in the Sun Belt, giving up 68.8 points per game and scoring; 60.6 points per game.

Offensively this season, Texas State has been efficient, shooting 43 percent from the field, which is ranked 2nd in the Sun Belt. South Alabama, however, has struggled from the field, shooting just 36 percent from the field.

Something to watch in this game is turnovers. South Alabama is ranked 2nd in the Sun Belt with a turnover margin of 2.80, while Texas State is ranked second to last in turnover margin.

The Bobcats come into this tournament hoping to continue their success behind the arc. Texas State is ranked 2nd in the Sun Belt in team 3 point percentage on 31 percent shooting. The Jaguars come in ranked 8th with just 28 percent from three.

Texas State is led in points by senior forward Da’Nasia Hood with 16.5 points per game on 46 percent shooting. The Jaguars are led by Senior forward Jaylin Powell, with 11.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting.

In the backcourt, The Bobcats are led by senior guard Taylor Kennedy with 11 points per game on 35 percent shooting. South Alabama is led by Senior guard Dee Haymer, with 8.9 points per game on 36 percent shooting.

Texas State will need to win the Sun Belt tournament. If they want to appear in the NCAA tournament, the Sun Belt Conference championship winner will get an automatic bid.

The Bobcats have never won a conference tournament but were runner-ups for the prize in 2018, where they lost to Little Rock in the championship game.

If the Bobcats were to win tomorrow, they would then advance to face the 3rd seeded Louisiana Rajun Cajuns on Friday.

Tip-off is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Pensacola State College in Pensacola, Florida, and will be streamed on ESPN+.

Featured Image by Justin Brown.

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