Turnovers Stall Tarleton’s Chances at SFA in Road Loss

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NACOGDOCHES – Tarleton had its work cut out for them Saturday, taking on a Stephen F. Austin squad that was a 12-seed in last season’s NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament. Turnovers hampered most of the Texans’ opportunities in their 74-45 loss.

The Ladyjacks (11-3, 2-0 WAC) remained perfect at William R. Johnson Coliseum this year (6-0) with their win in Nacogdoches, while the Texans dropped to 9-5 overall (1-2 WAC), 3-3 away from home.

Tarleton had 24 turnovers on the day, leading to 35 SFA points, 23 on the fast break. SFA had just 12 turnovers, leading to 11 Tarleton points, four on the fast break.

The Texans outrebounded the Ladyjacks 39-31, but were outshot 17-of-52 (.327) to 25-of-55 (.455). They also struggled from the free throw line (6-of-14), a rarity for them, as they entered the contest shooting 70.7 percent from the stripe.

Iyana Dorsey got it started for the purple and white with a deep triple to give Tarleton the early 3-0 lead. A good battle in the first frame featured six different scorers for Tarleton, including a Tyler Jackson three-pointer with a minute left to boost her team in front 17-16. It’d be the last lead for Tarleton, with SFA taking a 14-0 run to lead 30-17 nearly three minutes into the second quarter.

In the second frame, Tarleton faced adversity, but they kept fighting and turned on the defense, allowing just two points over a four-minute stretch to stay within arm’s reach. SFA led 38-28 at halftime.

The third quarter was all Ladyjacks. They won the frame 19-7, not allowing Tarleton to get on the board until the 5:12 mark. By that time it was a 20-point game, a seemingly insurmountable hole to climb out of against a top-two team in the WAC.

But, the Texans didn’t give in. Behind the play of Marissa Escamilla and Emily Cunningham, they got within 14 midway through the fourth. SFA ended the game on a 15-0 run over the last five-plus minutes to secure the victory.

Escamilla led the Texans in scoring with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding four rebounds. Malaya Kendrick flirted with a double-double, recording eight points and nine rebounds. Cunningham and Jurnee President finished with six points apiece.

SFA’s Aiyana Johnson had a game-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, to go with five boards. Two ‘Jacks joined her in double figures – Stephanie Visscher tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Avery Brittingham poured in 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, adding six boards.

The Texans return home where they’re 6-2 this season for a conference set against New Mexico State and Grand Canyon. That begins Thursday against the Aggies at 6 p.m. CT at Wisdom Gym.

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