STEPHENVILLE – It was the final game for three of Tarleton’s players on Tuesday night, and the team gave them a perfect parting gift – a win.
Tarleton snapped their longest skid in nearly 30 years with a 74-65 win over Seattle U in the season finale inside Wisdom Gym. The Texans (8-21, 2-16 WAC) broke through their 12-game losing streak and improved to 7-7 at home this year, making it their 20th straight season of playing .500+ basketball at home. The Redhawks (5-22, 5-12) lost in their first time ever visiting Stephenville.
The Texans outscored Seattle U by 12 in the fourth quarter, 26-14, for the nine-point win in what was a close game throughout. Both teams shot fairly even splits and the rebounding numbers were nearly identical. The biggest difference came in turnovers and fourth quarter free throw shooting. Tarleton entered the game fifth in the WAC in average turnover margin while Seattle U entered with the fifth worst such average in the country, and the Texans took advantage, forcing 24 turnovers that led to 28 points, while giving it away 17 times. In the final frame, the Texans also made all 10 of their free throw attempts. The Redhawks didn’t make it to the stripe once.
In her final collegiate game, Mayra Caicedo turned in her first double-double of the season with 11 points (9-10 FT), 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals, playing all 40 minutes. Her 11 assists matched a season-high and boosted her into the top-10 in program history for single-season assists, matching Kristin Curtis’ 140 assists in 1990-91, 10th most. It was the fifth time Caicedo played the entire game this season.
Teresa Da Silva had a game-high 22 points (4-10 3PT), adding three rebounds and two steals in 24 minutes. It marked her eighth 20+ point game of the season and she is now Tarleton’s leading scorer in their D1 era at 14.5 points per game. She also finished with the fourth most three-point makes in a single-season in program history at 65, surpassing Bailey Wipff’s (2015-16) and Helena Smith’s (1991-92) 63 makes in their respective seasons.
Jenna Dick poured in 10 points to lead the bench, while Elise Turrubiates tallied five points and eight rebounds in her first start since Jan. 26. Emilia Axelsson notched five points and five rebounds in her final collegiate game.
The Texans held a special pregame ceremony for departing players Caicedo, Axelsson and Starr Omozee on Purple Out, with many tears shed and laughs abound ahead of tip-off. Tarleton must have still been feeling nostalgic to start, as Seattle U raced out to a 7-0 lead and didn’t allow the Texans to score until more than four minutes in. The Redhawks shot 7-of-14 (.500) in the opening frame but just 1-for-7 (.143) from three to lead 17-11 after the first.
Tarleton chipped away in the second quarter and took their first lead late in the frame thanks to a 9-0 run, moving from down 23-18 to up 27-23. The game was knotted at the break 29-29, fitting for the Texans, who had played three overtime games in their last four contests at Wisdom Gym.
In the third, both teams traded buckets with neither leading by more than one possession nearly seven minutes in. The Redhawks fended off a 7-of-13 (.539) clip from the field by the Texans by making 9-of-11 from the charity stripe to lead 51-48 after three.
The final four minutes decidedly went Tarleton’s way. Down 59-59 with 3:23 left, the Texans sprinted to an 8-0 run in 90 seconds to suddenly lead by seven with 1:50 remaining. They made all of their free throws to ice it and take their fourth season finale victory in their last five years.
Tarleton will now turn their attention to 2023-24. Seattle U has their regular season finale at Abilene Christian on Thursday before they’ll play in the WAC Tournament, likely as the No. 11 seed.