Lady Buffs reach fourth straight final, 20th all time
By BRAD KEITH
ALLEN (March 4, 2016) — For Tarleton State (17-11), the scoring drought was simply too much to overcome.
For West Texas A&M (26-3), it’s back to the Lone Star Conference Championship final for the 20th time, the fourth straight season and the eighth time in 10 years. The are two-time defending tournament champs meet Angelo State in the final.
Tarleton trimmed a 13-point halftime deficit to four when Raven McGrath hit two big 3-pointers and Bailey Wipff another, but West Texas A&M answered with a 3-pointer by Madison Parker out of a timeout, and with 1:35 remaining stuck a dagger in the TexAnns with a right corner 3-ball by Michaela Neuhaus.
Madison Wild finished with 21 points and 12 boards to lead everyone, powering the Lady Buffs to a 30-14 advantage in points in the paint and a 36-24 rebounding margin. She did much of her damage in the first half.
McGrath scored 12 to lead Tarleton. Breanna Fuller had 11 points and eight boards, while Ashmore scored 11. Those three and Meagan O’Dell all played their final games for Tarleton.
Tarleton shot just 28.6 percent percent for the game, it’s lowest of the season and only the second time the TexAnns shot under 30 percent. WTAMU finished strong to end up hitting 40 percent.
Tarleton scored just two points over a stretch of 14 minutes, 57 seconds of the first half, failing to score at all over the final 8:16 of the first. WTAMU scored 11 straight over that stretch – the last four on layups by Hannah Alexander, to take a 13-5 lead.
But West Texas A&M struggled almost as much offensively as Tarleton in the first half. The Lady Buffs needed a 3-pointer just before the horn to lead 24-11 at intermission. At one point in the first half the teams had combined for 20 turnovers and just 1-10 shooting from the arc.
Tarleton was just 3-17 shooting in the half, its fewest field goals in any half this season. WTAMU was 11-30, just 37 percent, but also out boarded the TexAnns 21-12 and was 2-7 from the arc compared to Tarleton going 0-6.
Wild was the only player to get anything going for either team in the opening 20 minutes, when she had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The rest of the players on both teams combined for just 24 points and 22 boards.
Breanna Fuller did have three early points and five total in the first half for Tarleton. The senior also collected four boards before intermission, but finished with just seven and seven.
WT exacted some revenge after falling, 53-51, at Tarleton late in the regular season. The Lady Buffs beat the TexAnns in overtime previously in Canyon.