Special to The Flash
AUSTIN (November 6, 2016) – Tarleton has not been shy about competing against the best teams in the nation before starting its season.
In 2012, Tarleton agreed to take on the defending national champions and preseason No. 1 team in the country – Baylor – for an exhibition bout. In 2014, the TexAnns made the same trip to square off with, this time, No. 8 Baylor in the first-ever game of the Misty Wilson head-coaching era.
Sunday afternoon, Tarleton again displayed their toughness and willingness to stand toe-to-toe against the best the nation has to offer as the TexAnns took the court against the No. 6 University of Texas Longhorns in Austin.
“This was a tremendous opportunity for our program and I can’t say thank you enough to the University of Texas and Coach (Karen) Aston for having us down here. They’re a great program and I wish them the best of luck this year.”
Despite a 93-43 loss, the TexAnns turned some heads by winning the opening quarter 22-21 before the Longhorns pulled away over the final three quarters.
“I am so proud of my girls,” said head coach Misty Wilson. “I’m extremely proud of the way they competed and executed. We made some mistakes, which is to be expected. Overall, I’m just so proud of the way they competed today.”
Texas got on the board first with a layup before Bailey Wipff scored the first TexAnn points of the day with a three-ball from the left wing to put the TexAnns on top early. The long ball was Tarleton’s most effective weapon in the opening quarter as the TexAnns connected on 6-8 shooting from downtown, including a triple from Shelby Mankins with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter to put Tarleton on top 22-21 at the end of the opening quarter.
“(In that first quarter) I was really pleased with the way we found the open girl,” said Coach Wilson. “We were getting good looks and we took them. That was really good to see.”
Tarleton got three pointers from Wipff (2), Mankins (2), Mackenzie Hailey, and Kylie Collins in the opening quarter, as well as a reverse layup from Tiara Tatum and a free throw from Trejouir Wilson to cap off the 22-21 opening frame.
Texas switched gears in the second quarter and answered with a 25-2 run and ultimately went into halftime with a 50-27 lead. Tarleton got three free throws, a Tatum jumper, and an Ikpeaku Iwobilayup in the third as Texas extend the lead to 77-34.
Bailey Wipff, who sat the entire fourth quarter, led the way with nine points, which is the highest total by a TexAnn in an exhibition against a Division I opponent since Kiara Wright scored 18 against No. 1 Baylor in 2012. Shelby Mankins was the team’s second-leading scorer at 6 points.
The TexAnns will officially open the season this weekend when they return home to host the TexAnn Tip-Off Classic in Wisdom Gym Friday and Saturday. The TexAnns will host Missouri S&T Friday at 5 p.m. and St. Mary’s Saturday at 5 p.m.