Basketball, College

TexAnns triumphant in return to Wisdom Gym

tarleton_logoSTEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State (8-3, 2-1) kept its winning ways going strong Saturday night as the TexAnns knocked off Texas A&M-Kingsville 67-57 in their home conference debut at Wisdom Gym.

The win continues Tarleton’s record start under first-year head coach Misty Wilson, as the long-time TexAnn entered Saturday’s game with the best record for wins to start a head-coaching career in the school’s NCAA-era.

It also marked the 10th consecutive win for Tarleton State over Texas A&M-Kingsville, which is the fourth longest active streak against an NCAA-era opponent.

Ikpeaku Iwobi got the scoring started with the first bucket of her eventual double-double effort on a layup 1:15 into the game. After a quick 5-2 Javelinas push to give Kingsville a 5-4 lead, Kathy Thomasgot the offense rolling with a 3-ball at 16:58.

The Thomas 3-pointer started an 8-0 Tarleton runover the next three minutes to give the TexAnns their largest lead of the opening half at 12-5.

Texas A&M-Kingsville clawed right back, however, with eight straight of its own to retake the lead at 13-12 with 10:43 left in the opening half. After that run, the game stayed a tight affair until an 8-0 run by the Javelinas put Kingsville up 30-23 with 2:07 left in the half.

Neither team was able to add any more over the next two minutes until Raven McGrath, who is fresh off a career-high 19-point effort at Angelo State Wednesday night, drilled a half-court buzzer-beater to send the TexAnns into halftime down 26-30.

Out of the break, Tarleton came out with a brand new intensity – beginning with a jumper from Karli Moore.

The Moore jumper started a 19-4 Tarleton State run that put the TexAnns on top by 11 at 45-34 with 12:25 left in the game. The Javelinas answered back by pulling within two at 51-49 before Thomas stopped the bleeding with a layup to begin a 10-2 run over the next three minutes.

After a Kingsville tip-in on its next possession to make it 61-53 in favor of Tarleton, the rest of the game was decided by free throws with neither tame making another field goal over the final three minutes. Tarleton hit six free throws while Kingsville connected on just four to bring the game to its final score.

Iwobi led the way with her fifth career double-double. The sophomore from Houston scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and remains the only active TexAnn with a double-double in her career.

Thomas also scored a game-high 15 points despite playing just 25 minutes due to foul trouble. McGrath added 10 points while Moore scored eight points. Bailey Wipff (7), Travanti Downes (5),Breanna Fuller (5) and Averie Mack (2) rounded out the scoring for the TexAnns.

Tarleton will return to action Wednesday night in Wisdom Gym when the TexAnns renew their rivalry with Midwestern State at 5:30 p.m.

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