FORT SMITH, AR – The Tarleton women’s basketball team (11-4, 5-4 LSC) captured their fifth straight win over Arkansas-Fort Smith (7-8, 4-5 LSC) on the road Saturday afternoon after forcing 23 Lion turnovers. The Texans have forced 114 total turnovers through their win streak, averaging 22.8 opponent turnovers over the last five games.
Tarleton shot 55.6% and are now 9-0 on the season when shooting over 40% from the field. Mackenzie Hailey captured a season-high of 27 points in the match-up, one point short of her career high.
Lucy Benson captured the first points of the game to kick start the Texan offense. Tarleton held Fort Smith scoreless in the first five minutes of the game. UAFS took the lead with a three-pointer, but Hailey ran down the court to keep the game within one, 6-5 Lions midway through the quarter. A 6-0 Lions run was ended by a layup from freshman Callie Boyles with under a minute left in the quarter. Kylie Collins ended the quarter with a layup to keep the game within one score, 16-14 Lions.
A three-pointer from Alexa Hoy opened the second quarter scoring and put the Texans over UAFS, 17-16. The Lions answered right back with two straight scores to regain their lead, 21-17 at the eighth minute mark. In total, there were 16 lead changes in the first half of the match-up. The Lions’ lead got as high as five, 25-20, but three straight Texan scores from Hoy and Hailey kept the Texans right there. A last minute jumper from Hailey put the Texans up 32-29 into halftime.
Hailey led all scorers with 13 points and four rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Hoy also notched double digits in the first half with 10 points. The Texans forced 15 Lion turnovers, assisted by four Benson steals.
The Lions quickly tied the score up in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but the Texans answered right back with a layup from Benson. It would be another back and forth battle between the two Lone Star Conference teams with 10 lead changes. The Texans pushed their lead as high as eight, 48-40, off a 9-0 run with under two minutes left in the quarter. A buzzer-beater score from the Lions ended the third quarter with a 48-42 score.
After a back and forth battle in the first three quarters, the Texans started to pull away in the final 10 minutes. A trey from Hailey pushed the lead to 51-44 in the opening minutes of the fourth. The Texans were able to push a double-digit lead at the six-minute mark, assisted by a Boyles layup, 57-46. Hailey’s 25th point of the game off an Eagles’ turnover pushed the lead to 13, 63-50, with three minutes left in the game. All comeback efforts were dismantled by the Texans, who forced 23 Lion turnovers in the game.
In addition to her season-high points, Hailey notched six rebounds, two steals, and a block. The senior also shot 73.3% from the field (11-15). Hoy tallied 16 points, one point from a season high, off 66.7% shooting.
Benson (9), Boyles (6), Kandyn Faurie (4), Marissa Escamilla (4), Collins (2), and Kaitlyn Guillory (1) rounded out the scoring for the Texans.
The Texans return home to Wisdom Gym next weekend for a pair of Lone Star Conference match-ups. Tarleton will take on Texas-Permian Basin on Thursday, January 16th at 5:30 p.m. Tarleton will then battle Western New Mexico on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.