Iwobi’s Double-Double Lifts TexAnns over Javelinas
By Travis M. Smith – @travis5mith
Texan News Sports Editor
STEPHENVILLE – (8-3, 2-1) Tarleton State University TexAnns defeated the (0-13, 0-3) Javelinas of Texas A&M – Kingsville Saturday night in the rowdy confines of Wisdom Gym. The TexAnns struggled offensively in the first half but found their rhythm after the half.
Ikpeaku Iwobi had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the TexAnns to their second straight Lone Star Conference victory. Kathy Thomas had 15 points of her own, and Raven McGrath chipped in 10 points and 8 rebounds in the winning effort.
Iwobi continued her impressive play after her 9 point, 13 rebound effort in San Angelo, and acknowledged the TexAnn struggles in the first half.
“We came out flat, which we shouldn’t have. At this point in conference we can’t do that,” Iwobi said. “We can’t keep coming out flat. We have to start and finish strong.”
The TexAnns certainly finished strong, scoring 15 more points than they did in the first half with 16 of those coming in the paint and 17 more on fast breaks.
TSU has now won 10 straight games against Kingsville, who ranks last in the LSC with 52.8 points per game.
The TexAnns controlled the opening tip and Iwobi got the scoring started with a bucket from the block. The TexAnn offense was sluggish for the first five minutes of the contest, only attempting 4 shots. Back-to-back triples by Kathy Thomas gave the TexAnns a 10-5 lead with 14:50 left in the half.
A three-minute TexAnn scoring drought combined with an 8-0 Javelina run gave TAMUK a one-point lead, 13-12 with ten minutes and change to play before the half. Iwobi took a Thomas pass and scored her eighth point of the game. The basket also reclaimed the lead for the TexAnns. Travanti Downes converted her and-1 opportunity and the TexAnns led 17-15 with 8:11 on the clock.
Another scoring drought for the TexAnns and a second 8-0 run from the Javelinas, gave TAMUK its largest lead of the game. With less than 2 minutes to play, TSU trailed the winless TAMUK squad 30-23. Raven McGrath found the bottom of the net, and maybe some momentum, on a 40-foot buzzer beater. The TexAnns entered the locker room trailing the Javelinas of Texas A&M – Kingsville 30-26.
TAMUK shot 48.1% from the field in the first half after entering the game shooting an LSC low, 33.5%. Tarleton State did not have a single fast break basket, and there were 9 lead changes in the half. Six different TexAnns scored, and Iwobi led all scorers with 8 points.
Karli Moore and McGrath each opened the half with baskets. Iwobi continued to attack the basket from the low post and her and-1 gave the TexAnns the lead again, 33-32. The offense found some momentum and started the half with a 10-0 run. Micah Weaver’s jumper ended the TAMUK skid, and the TexAnns held a 38-34 lead with under 15 minutes to play.
Breanna Fuller blocked a Javelina shot, and McGrath hit Thomas in stride on a pass up the court for the TexAnns first fast break basket of the game. Downes scored again and the TexAnns had quickly build an 11-point lead 45-34. Momentum had finally swung in Tarleton State’s favor with 11 minutes left in the game.
The TexAnns cooled after their blistering start and allowed the Javelinas to get back into the game. TSU entered the penalty with 5:54 left in the LSC showdown, and Bailey Wipff made TAMUK pay for it by sinking both of her free throws. Her three-ball from the corner on the TexAnns next possession, followed by Iwobi’s fast break basket, increased the TexAnn lead to 9, 60-51.
With under 2 minutes to play the TexAnns were hanging on to a 62-53 lead, and the Javelinas were not going down without a fight. Any chance of a comeback was dashed when Moore took a timely charge in the lane, giving the ball back to the TexAnns with a 7-point lead and under a minute remaining.