Tried and Denied: Thiam Totals 8 of Tarleton’s 13 Blocked Shots in Close Win over Aggies


STEPHENVILLE – Getting the ball inside is usually a positive thing in basketball – except when a 6-6 dominating force is roaming the lane.

Tarleton center Seynabou Thiam totaled a career-high eight blocks to send back the New Mexico State Aggies in the Texans’ 58-56 win on Thursday night.

Tarleton improved to 10-5 overall, 2-2 in WAC play, 7-2 at Wisdom Gym, and a perfect 5-0 in games following a loss this season. This is the fourth time in head coach Misty Wilson’s eight seasons the Texans own a .667 or greater winning percentage at the 15-game mark (2019-20, 2018-19, 2014-15).

Thiam’s eight blocks were part of 13 by the Texans as a whole, both the highest marks in program history in at least the last 15 years. Thiam’s eight blocks are the tied-fifth most in a game across all of NCAA Division I this season, and the tied-second most by a WAC player this year. Tarleton’s 13 blocks are the tied-seventh most across Division I, the most by a WAC team.

Thiam, a sophomore playing her first season for the purple and white, now has 40 blocks on the season, already the 13th most in a single-season in Tarleton history and the most since 2013-14, with 14 games to go. Along with her eight blocks, she achieved her second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Iyana Dorsey led all scorers with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, adding a tied-season-high four steals. Malaya Kendrick finished with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Nya Mitchels led the bench with seven points (3-5 FG), adding two steals.

After a close beginning to the game, Tarleton pulled ahead to end the first quarter using a 10-0 run over the final four minutes to lead 23-13 after one. They spread the wealth on the run, with Emily Cunningham (three points), Tyler Jackson (two), Kendrick (two), Mitchels (two) and Thiam (one) adding to the score.

The Aggies responded in the second quarter. After trailing 30-20 with 6:43 left, they allowed just two points (a Thiam layup at the 1:18 mark) the rest of the way, outscoring Tarleton 9-2 to trail 32-29 at the break.

New Mexico State took their first lead since they led 1-0 by scoring the first five points of the second half to jump ahead 34-32. Overall across nearly a full quarter, 9:54 to be exact, the Texans scored just two points. Momentum turned in their favor from there, on their way to a 12-9 third quarter win to lead 44-38 headed into the fourth.

The Aggies scored the first six points of the final frame to tie the game back up. After one more tie at 46, Kendrick nailed a jumper from the paint and the Texans led the rest of the way, thanks to two straight buckets from Thiam, and five late points by Dorsey. Tarleton led by just one with 2:14 left before turning the defense on, forcing four straight empty possessions, three of which ended in turnovers.

Tarleton’s 13 blocks compared to just two by the Aggies. New Mexico State won the battle of the boards 39-34. There were just five combined three-point makes by the two teams, with neither giving them much of a look. Tarleton had 18 free throw attempts to New Mexico State’s eight, and they slightly outshot the Aggies 22-of-53 (.415) to 24-of-62 (.387).

Soufia Inoussa led NMSU with 12 points, adding two steals. Shania Harper led the bench with 10 points (5-6 FG) and seven rebounds, while Jade Bradley approached a double-double with nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.

The Texans now turn their attention to Grand Canyon, who comes to Wisdom Gym on Saturday with a 10-5 record, just like Tarleton. That game is slated for 2 p.m. CT. GCU has won two straight and five of their last six, owning a 3-1 WAC record.

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