By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 5, 2017) — Tarleton State comes off a 17-day layoff since an exhibition contest and 23 days without a regular season game with a big test Thursday when the TexAnns (4-6, 3-1) visit No. 5 Angelo State (10-0, 4-0) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Stephens Arena in San Angelo.
The unbeaten Rambelles score 81.5 points per game and have won their first 10 by an average of 18.9, but Tarleton has had success the last four-plus seasons against them, winning four straight and eight of the previous nine for a 29-21 advantage in the series.
Angelo is seeking its first win over the TexAnns since beating them 60-55 in San Angelo on February 12, 2014, but the Rambelles may have the best lineup Tarleton will see this season.
It begins with Taylor Dorsey, a 51.3 percent shooter averaging 20.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists, and Jasmine Prophet, who shoots 56.8 percent while collecting 12.0 points, 7.2 boards and 1.2 blocks per contest. Lexi Murphy tallies 8.7 points and 5.5 rebounds, while Chanelle Pelle has needed just 11.4 minutes per game to collect 8.8 points and 4.5 boards.
The Rambelles are shooting 45.3 percent and limiting opponents to 38.1 percent, and out-rebound opponents by 7.1 boards per game. One of the stats that stand out the most, however, is a plus-5.6 turnover differential, with ASU turning over the ball 14.5 times per game, and its opponents 20.1.
The TexAnns did win the last time they took the court, thrashing Northern New Mexico, 71-41, in a home exhibition on December 19. Their first conference loss came at vEastern New Mexico, 73-68, on December 10, and they dropped an inter-region battle to reigning national champ Lubbock Christian, 75-66, on December 13 in Stephenville.
Tarleton and its opponents have been on a near-exact scoring pace, with the TexAnns netting 62.9 points and its foes 63.1. Tarleton shoots 40.0 percent and opponents 42.6, and the TexAnns have been slightly out-boarded by less than one rebound per game. They dod have a positive turnover differential with 16.3 giveaways and 19.0 takeaways on average.
Hailey Mackenzie is averaging close to a double-double for Tarleton with 14.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, while her partner in the paint, Ikpeaku Iwobi, collects 10.3 points and 6.2 boards. Bailey Wipff and Tiara Tatum have led the backcourt at 11.9 and 8.8, respectively.
It’s the first game of a weekend on the road for the TexAnns who also visit Texas A&M-Kingsville on at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tarleton is back home next week for a Tuesday bout with Texas A&M-Commerce and a Thursday showdown with Texas Woman’s.