A dominant first-half performance by UTA’s women’s basketball team (21-10, 14-4) was enough to see them top Texas State University 74-50 on Tuesday at College Park Center.
The Lady Mavericks advance to the quarterfinal of the Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Championship to face the University of South Alabama at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
UTA stifled Texas State’s offense early with an intense full-court press, limiting the Bobcats’ chances. Meanwhile, the Lady Mavericks shot with a ruthless efficiency to lead to a 31-10 advantage after the first period. By halftime, that lead grew to 52-24, with UTA’s sinking 22 of 37 shots.
“The first half was some of the best basketball we’ve played this year,” head coach Krista Gerlich said.
UTA had five players scoring 10 or more points, with senior forward Marie Benson leading the charge with 15 points. Sophomore center Misty Dossey was a rebound away from a double-double with 12 points, while sophomore guard Claire Chastain was one of three players to hit a pair of 3-pointers on the night.
Gerlich said Chastain will be one of UTA’s biggest threats and an “x-factor” for tournament play, since the 6-foot guard can create lots of mismatches when she’s on the court.
A sloppy third quarter saw UTA outscored 12-9 by Texas State, with the focus and intensity having seemingly vanished. Gerlich said the sluggish play can happen, but she wants her players to be able to react to and get out of tough situations.
Although the Bobcats would again outscore the Lady Mavericks in the fourth quarter 14-13, the damage had been done by UTA as the game ended with a 24-point advantage for the hosts.
Gerlich said the dominance was a combination of the fact that its tournament play and Texas State had tripped up the Lady Mavericks earlier in the season.
“We’re in the middle of March Madness,” she said. “It’s a new season, and we certainly knew that it could be anybody’s ball game at this point.”