Lucy Benson stars in history-making game, Texans enact revenge over Cougars

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STEPHENVILLE, Texas – It was Lucy Benson’s day.

Not only did she set the all-time record for most career games played in Tarleton women’s basketball history, surpassing a decades-old mark, but she also had an incredible performance on the court. Thanks to her efforts and several Texans late, Tarleton enacted revenge against Chicago State at Wisdom Gym in Stephenville on Saturday, 65-51.

The Texans snapped a three-game losing streak at home, improving to 14-11 overall (6-8 WAC). At the same time, they extended the Cougars’ losing streak to a season-long five-game mark. Chicago State is now 4-19 overall, 3-11 in conference play.

On Black History Appreciation Day at the game, Benson made her own history by playing in her 141st career game with the Texans, surpassing Dianna May’s 140 games played from 1976-80 for the most games played in program history. She received the spotlight pregame from the crowd for the incredible honor, and could have easily been distracted on the task at hand.

Instead, Benson recorded her first career double-double in her 141st career-game, posting a season-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, a career-high 12 rebounds, a career-high seven steals and tied-career-high two blocks in 33 minutes.

Her seven steals are the most in a game by a Texan since Kaylee Allen had eight against Lubbock Christian on Nov. 21, 2018. Only one WAC player has had more steals than Benson in a game this season, and she was on the other bench at Wisdom Gym Saturday – Chicago State’s Aaliyah Collins had eight against Western Illinois on Nov. 17.

Benson’s heroics were paired by another record this game. In the first quarter, Seynabou Thiam blocked her 59th shot of the season, setting a new record for the most blocks by a Texan in a single-season all-time, surpassing Kaelie Butler’s 58 blocks in 1993-94.

The game itself started terribly for Tarleton, who couldn’t buy a bucket to start, making just two field goals in the opening frame. They trailed 16-6 after the first 10 minutes on 2-of-14 (.143) shooting, 0-of-6 from distance.

Tarleton settled down and played more of their style in the second quarter, making 5-of-10 from the field and forcing the Cougars to shoot just 2-of-10, getting to halftime down 25-22. The Texans trailed 18-10 midway through the second before bursting on a 12-2 run to take a 22-20 lead.

The third quarter started much like the first quarter, with Tarleton unable to find much luck on offense. Tarleton scored two points in the first four minutes and found themselves back down by seven, 31-24. Jurnee President kept the purple and white alive in the frame with three big three-pointers, including a tiebreaker with 37 seconds remaining to boost the Texans up by three entering the fourth quarter, 38-35.

Tarleton bust the game wide open in the fourth quarter with a 27-16 frame. When leading 41-37 with eight minutes left, the Texans allowed just three points over the next six minutes, en route to a 20-3 run to take a 21-point lead, 61-40. Some chippiness ensued with the game out of hand, but Tarleton kept their composure to solidify the win.

With the win, the Texans are guaranteed to finish with a winning record at home. It marks their
19th straight season they’ve finished .500 or better at home, last failing to do so in 2002-03.

Jenna Dick joined Benson with a team-high 14 points on 2-of-4 shooting from distance, adding two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Marissa Escamilla was instrumental in the fourth quarter once again, finishing with another season-high in scoring, her second straight game in doing so. She poured in 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, adding six rebounds in 19 minutes. President finished with 10 points thanks to those three threes, tying her season-high in assists at four for the second straight game.

Chicago State’s Nafatoumata Haidara had a game-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, to go with 11 rebounds and two blocks for the double-double. Collins also achieved a double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Allysah Boothe was the third of the trio in double figures, going for 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting.

Tarleton forced the Cougars to shoot just 17-of-55 (.309) from the field and to turn it over 20 times, leading to 19 Texan points.

The Texans will leave Stephenville for the final time this season, set to play their last road games at UTRGV on Thursday and at Lamar on Saturday. Tip-off in Edinburg against the Vaqueros is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.

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