STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton saved its best performance in a three-game homestand for last on Saturday, as the Texans blew past Howard Payne 87-44 inside Wisdom Gym.
The result extended Tarleton’s winning streak to three games – its second-longest at NCAA Division 1 – and marked its fourth consecutive home win dating back to the 2020-21 season. The 43-point margin of victory was the Texans’ second largest in the program’s D1 era, second only to a 95-27 drubbing of Champion Christian on Dec. 12.
A banner day by Iyana Dorsey and a pestering defense sent Tarleton to its most convincing win of the 2021-22 campaign. Dorsey racked up a career-high 23 points – 18 of which came in the first half – on 7-15 shooting in just 18 minutes of action. The Texans forced 23 turnovers – their second-most as a D1 program – and swiped the ball away 18 times to hold HPU to 10 made field goals inside the arc and a 29 percent clip (16-55) for the game.
Tarleton also finished with a 49-32 advantage on the glass and dished out a season-best 22 assists – seven of which came from Malaya Kendrick.
Forwards Marissa Escamilla and Seynabou Thiam joined Dorsey in double figures with 10 points apiece. Thiam, 6-6, snagged a game-high seven rebounds and swatted two shots in a season-high 17 minutes. Jenna Dick chipped in eight points off the bench to highlight Tarleton’s offensive leaders.
Escamilla and Dorsey, who earned All-Western Athletic Conference honorable mention credentials last season, put the game away before the horn sounded in the first quarter. The duo combined for 14 points as Tarleton built a 24-14 lead following the first 10 minutes. Escamilla scored eight of Tarleton’s first 13 points on 4-4 shooting. Dorsey canned two of her four 3-pointers in the frame, the first of which gave Tarleton a 7-0 lead while the latter kept Tarleton ahead 16-9 with just over 4:00 to play.
Dorsey and Kendrick took it from there in the second quarter.
A 5-6 guard, Dorsey erupted for 12 points in the frame behind a 5-6 mark at the foul line. Two layups from the Saginaw, Texas native doubled up the Yellow Jackets, first at 32-16 and later at 50-25 as Tarleton took a 24-point edge into the intermission.
Kendrick recorded each of her game-high four steals in the quarter as Tarleton sped HPU up with success. The Yellow Jackets gave the ball away seven times in the period and 13 for the half.
Kendrick was a stat sheet stuffer for Tarleton, as her four steals were a part of a seven-assist, six-point, six rebound performance from the 5-7 floor general. The fifth-year senior is Tarleton’s leader on the boards (9.5 rpg) and in dimes (3.3 apg).
Tarleton outscored the Yellow Jackets 20-3 in the third quarter to swell the lead to 70-29. The Texans limited HPU to just one field goal and snagged 19 rebounds in the period.
Hannah Matthews scored her first career points in Purple in White with a fast break layup off a turnover to give Tarleton its largest lead of the game at 75-29 with 6:46 to go. Five points from fellow newcomer Mason Jones in a 20-second spurt with under 1:00 to play then sealed the final score as Tarleton closed on an 8-0 run.
With the game in hand, head coach Misty Wilsom maximized the opportunity to employ her full roster, which features nine newcomers. All 15 players listed on Tarleton’s roster entered the game in the second half.
All 15 players finished with at least one rebound in the contest. Nya Mitchels (7 points, 2 blocks) and Emilia Axelsson (5 points, 1 steal) each tallied five boards while Escamilla had four.
The Texans have now claimed five straight meetings over the Yellow Jackets. The all-time series between the two central Texas foes now sits at 18-6 overall and 9-4 in Stephenville in favor of Tarleton.
Following a season-opener at SEC powerhouse Arkansas and three straight home games vs. non-D1 opponents, Tarleton gets its first true assessment of where it stands as nonconference play approaches its midway point. The Texans travel to South Carolina to face College of Charleston (3-0) of the Colonial Athletic Association at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Tarleton then plays the first “D1 vs. D1” home basketball game in school history on Nov. 27 vs. Western Illinois (2-1).