Tarleton upends Eastern New Mexico in home finale

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STEPHENVILLE – The starting five combined for 70 of the team’s 80 points as the Tarleton TexAnns held off an Eastern New Mexico rally to win Saturday’s home finale 80-75 in Wisdom Gym.

Tarleton rode a hot start to an early, dominant lead after a three-pointer from Kaylee Allen turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead in the opening two minutes and started a 10-0 run that boosted Tarleton to a 12-3 lead. Tarleton went on to outscore the Greyhounds 21-12 in the opening quarter.

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The TexAnns maintained their double-digit lead down to the final two minutes of the opening half but Eastern New Mexico closed out the first half on an 8-2 run to send Tarleton into the break with a 36-30 edge.

Out of the break, Eastern New Mexico cut the Tarleton lead down to four but McKinley Bostad scored the first of five unanswered points to give the TexAnns some breathing room. Tarleton maintained the lead and added four unanswered points in the final 1:27 to give Tarleton an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Tarleton opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to extend the lead out to a game-high 19 points, but Eastern New Mexico started to claw back with a 28-10 run over the next six minutes but with time winding down, the Greyhounds were forced to foul and sent Mackenzie Hailey to the charity stripe. The junior knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 78-75 and force Eastern to call a timeout.

Out of the break, the Greyhounds put up the game-tying three but Nina Alvarez pulled down the defensive rebound and converted a pair of free throws on the other end to seal it.

Hailey led all scorers with 19 points and eight rebounds for the game while seniors Katie Webster (17), Bostad (11), and Allen (17) all went for double figures and combined for 45 points in their final home game.

Alvarez scored eight points off the bench while Kylie Collins (6) and Lucy Benson (2) rounded out the scoring.

It was the final home game in the playing careers of seniors Allen, Bostad, and Webster, as well as junior Hannah Hyde and team manager Maddie Oliver. Hyde is forgoing her senior season of eligibility and played nine minutes off the bench for Tarleton Saturday.

The TexAnns will hit the road next week for the final two games of the year with a Thursday trip to Western New Mexico and Saturday game at UT Permian Basin.

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