By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 14, 2015) — It was as if a completely different Tarleton State team came out of the locker room for the second half.
Tarleton, after scoring just 23 points in the first half and trailing by nine at intermission, exploded for 18 points in the opening four minutes of the third quarter.
The 18-1 run put the TexAnns ahead for good, though there were certainly nervous moments down the stretch in a 64-59 victory over Oklahoma Baptist Monday evening at Wisdom Gym.
The third quarter started with back-to-back 3-pointers by Bailey Wipff on assists from Morgan Ashmore and Raven McGrath. Such ball movement was key all night with the TexAnns distributing 14 assists on 21 field goals.
The run continued with a layup by Ikpeaku Iwobi before OBU hit a free throw to lead 33-31 with 2:13 gone in the third.
The free throw hardly slowed the bleeding for the Lady Bison, as the TexAnns answered with a game-tying layup by Travanti Downes and a go-ahead 3-pointer by Ashmore.
It was part of a career night by Ashmore. The senior guard was 7-7 from the floor and buried a trio of 3-pointers for 19 points. Her prior career high was 11, scored against Incarnate Word when she was a freshman.
Even when Oklahoma Baptist stalled the Tarleton momentum and stayed in the game, Ashmore was there to be sure the TexAnns stayed in front. She buried a 3-pointer to make it 58-55 with 2:45 remaining, assisted Breanna Fuller for a layup 26 seconds later and snared a crucial defensive rebound with 1:20 to play.
Here’s what Ashmore had to say following the victory:
Raven McGrath sealed the win from the foul stripe, burying her only four attempts of the night in the final minute. Tarleton was 15-19 from the stripe as a team.
Wipff was 6-6 from the line and scored 16 points while grabbing four steals. McGrath added seen points while Iwobi had six points and nine boards.
Tarleton snapped a shot just 24.1 percent on its way to a 32-23 halftime deficit, but turned that around by hitting 50 percent in the second half to finish 37 percent for the game.
OBU was led by McKenzie Cooper with 22 points while Katy Custer netted 11. The Lady Bison shot 46.2 percent before intermission and just 36 percent after, finishing at 41.2 percent for the game.
Tarleton returns to the court this weekend at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. They face Stonehill College (Mass.) at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Montana State-Billings at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.