Texans win pivotal WAC contest against 4th slotted Trailblazers


STEPHENVILLE – Entering Thursday, there were five teams separated by just 1.5 games with two spots remaining in the WAC Tournament. With wins by both Tarleton State and Seattle U, the separation is now just a single game.

The Texans (8-18, 5-12 WAC) snapped a four-game skid by taking down the fourth slotted Utah Tech Trailblazers (16-12, 10-7 WAC) 76-60 at Wisdom Gym in Stephenville Thursday night. Looking at other scores across the WAC, Abilene Christian beat Southern Utah 75-42, Seattle U beat UT Arlington 81-77, and Grand Canyon knocked off UTRGV 66-40. The Texans are now tied for seventh with Southern Utah and UTRGV at 5-12, with Seattle U 10th at 5-13 and Utah Valley 11th at 4-13.

Tarleton State is now 3-2 over their last five home games. With 76 points on Thursday, this was the Texans’ highest scoring game since dropping 88 at McNeese on Dec. 16, and their third highest scoring game of the year. They had 17 more shot attempts than the Trailblazers, shooting 30-of-67 (.448) to UT’s 22-of-50 (.440). The Texans outrebounded the Trailblazers 39-30 and had half as many turnovers, forcing 12 to just six giveaways, a season-best. Tarleton held Utah Tech 14 points under their season scoring average, which was a top-three mark in the WAC coming in.  

“I’m so proud of our team’s effort this evening,” head coach Bill Brock said. “We stayed focused on defense and handled the ball well tonight with a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio. Now we have to quickly prepare for Southern Utah and see if we can protect our home court on Saturday afternoon.”

Tarleton’s starting frontcourt shined in this one, combining for 38 points on 17-of-32 (.531) shooting and 19 rebounds. Elise Turrubiates scored a season-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, adding eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. This was her first 20-plus point game since pouring in a career-high 25 against UT Arlington on Jan. 14 last season. Faith Acker achieved her second double-double of the year with 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 11 rebounds.

Four of Tarleton’s starters scored in double figures, as Jakoriah Long had 14 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Tyler Jackson totaled 11 points (3-4 3PT) and five boards. Miannah Little added seven points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.

The Texans started hot in front of a solid Wisdom Gym crowd, scoring on their opening two possessions, adding an 8-1 run midway through the frame to lead by eight, 16-8. Tarleton State built an 11-point lead in the first before entering the second up 21-12, making 8-of-16 (.500) from the field and 4-of-6 (.667) from distance to Utah Tech’s clips of 5-of-17 (.294), 0-of-7 (.000) from downtown.

The Trailblazers flipped the script in the second quarter. They chipped away at the deficit and tied it at 29-29 with 2:27 to play. Utah Tech took their first lead of the game with 34 seconds left in the first half, but it only lasted for 33 seconds, thanks to an Acker buzzer-beating layup to put Tarleton State ahead 34-33 headed to the locker room. Utah Tech made 8-of-12 (.667) from the floor in the second quarter, 4-of-7 (.571) from deep, while Tarleton made 6-of-20 (.300) from the field, 1-of-10 (.100) from downtown.

It was a back-and-forth third quarter most of the way. The Texans started to gain some separation towards the end of the frame, and they led by eight entering the fourth, 52-44.

In the final frame, the Texans slammed the door on any Utah Tech hope of a comeback. Tarleton made 8-of-13 (.615) from the field and 7-of-8 (.875) from the free throw line, leading by double figures most of the quarter.

Utah Tech was led by Breaunna Gillen’s 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds. She also had five turnovers. Maddie Warren totaled 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Maggie McCord finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

This was Tarleton’s first victory against Utah Tech in the fourth all-time meeting, all since 2021.

With three games remaining, the Texans control their own destiny, with all three games coming against the teams they’re fighting against to make it to Las Vegas. They’ll have their home finale on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Southern Utah. This is Tarleton State’s Senior Day, and the Texans will celebrate their lone senior student-athlete Teresa Da Silva during halftime.

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