STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton head coach Misty Wilson is thankful for defense and on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, the TexAnns showcased their most dominant defensive showing of the young season to upset No. 10 Lubbock Christian 67-56 in Wisdom Gym.
Lubbock Christian came to Stephenville boasting a previously unbeaten record of 5-0, not including an exhibition win over NCAA Division I SMU earlier this month. The game was a rematch of last year’s South Central regional tournament quarterfinal game and Tarleton set an early tone that this year’s meeting would go very differently.
Tarleton forced Lubbock Christian into 26 turnovers which led to 31 of Tarleton’s 67 total points.
Lubbock Christian got out to a quick 6-3 lead over the opening three minutes but would not have a lead bigger than one basket in the opening quarter as Tarleton tied the score twice and enjoyed two leads – including the final one of the quarter when McKinley Bostad drilled a jumper to beat the buzzer and send Tarleton into the second quarter with a 13-11 lead.
Lucy Benson, who stepped into the starting lineup for Tarleton Wednesday, sparked Tarleton in the second quarter as the sophomore hit two old-fashioned three-point plays in the opening two minutes to help the TexAnns push their lead out to seven at 21-14.
After the Lady Chaps pulled within four, Tarleton ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a double-digit lead into halftime at 36-26.
Tarleton continued to pull away over the opening five minutes of the new half as Tarleton extended its lead out to 15 with 3:28 left in the third quarter. Lubbock Christian did answer, however, by scoring seven unanswered to cut the Tarleton lead down to 47-39 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, Tarleton managed its lead while Lubbock Christian pulled only as close as five in the final minute but Kaylee Allen answered with back-to-back free throws before Bostad pulled down a defensive rebound on the other end and turned them into two more free shots for a nine-point lead with 30 seconds left.
Bostad added another rebound and two more free throws with two seconds left to bring the game to its final score.
Allen led the way with her most complete performance of the young season as the senior poured in 17 points to lead Tarleton while adding two rebounds, four assists, and a team-high eight steals. Mackenzie Hailey, who missed last year’s regional game against the Lady Chaps due to injury, finished with 15 points on 7-13 shooting, seven rebounds, and five steals.
Bostad finished with nine points after battling foul trouble while Marissa Escamilla gave a career-high eight points off the bench. Benson (6), Kylie Collins (4), Destiney Winkfield (3), Nina Alvarez (3), and Hannah Hyde (2) rounded out the scoring.
Tarleton shot .458 from the floor and .364 from beyond the arc while putting in a 19-24 effort at the free throw line. The TexAnns held Lubbock Christian to just 3-12 from beyond the arc for the game.
The TexAnns will return to action next week in Wisdom Gym against Texas A&M-Kingsville at 5:30 p.m. to begin Lone Star Conference play.