By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 13, 2016) — Tarleton State erased an early deficit and took a brief third quarter lead, but couldn’t sustain it against the defending national champs Tuesday at Wisdom Gym.
Lubbock Christian (5-6) responded to its first deficit with a 16-2 run – highlighted by a 3 with a foul for a 4-point play Bailey Haist – to open up a 13-point lead, then kept the TexAnns (4-6) at arm’s length down the stretch, defeating them 75-66.
Kylie Collins ended the run with a left corner 3 out of a Tarleton timeout, and after LCU scored inside, Bailey Wipff drained a triple from the left wing, cutting it to 62-53, with six minutes still to go. That was as close, as Tarleton would get, however, with LCU quickly restoring an 11-point margin and stayed ahead by at least seven the final four minutes and change.
Mackenzie Hailey led all scorers with 19 points for Tarleton, and also collected 10 rebounds for her fourth consecutive double-double. Wipff netted 18 and Ikpeaku Iwobi 14, as those three combined for 51 points and the rest of the TexAnns combined for just 15.
Tess Bruffey scored 17, Heist 14 and Allison Szabo 10 for the Lady Chaps, who shot 51 percent from the floor to Tarleton’s 39 percent. LCU also held a commanding 41-29 advantage on the backboards.
Hailey helped keep Tarleton in the game with eight points over the first four minutes of the third quarter. A 3-point play by Iwobi then pulled the TexAnns within one, before a takeaway on the defensive end set up a breakaway layup attempt by Wipff. The senior guard couldn’t finish through a foul in transition, but she knocked down both free throws and Tarleton was on top, 45-44, with 1:27 left in the third.
LCU scored the first six points and led throughout the first half. Tarleton briefly cut it to two before the Lady Chaps netted six straight to finish the half on top, 30-22.