Turnovers dash Tarleton’s hopes in WAC Tournament quarterfinals against SFA


LAS VEGAS — Tarleton hit the boards hard and had a similar shooting percentage as Stephen F. Austin on Thursday afternoon, but turnovers plagued the Texans in their WAC Tournament quarterfinal loss.

The 7-seed Texans (11-20, 7-13 WAC) had their season end at the hands of the 3-seed Ladyjacks (21-11, 14-6 WAC) at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas 70-58.

The Texans had 24 turnovers to SFA’s nine, their worst turnover differential (-15) on the season. That led to 22 points off of turnovers for the Ladyjacks compared to 10 scored by Tarleton off of turnovers, a 12-point difference which was the same difference in the final result.

“First of all, give credit to SFA,” head coach Bill Brock said. “They kept us off-balance offensively the entire game with their length and athleticism on defense. We competed hard but just had too many live ball turnovers that resulted in easy baskets.”

SFA went 3-0 against Tarleton this year. All three were competitive affairs, but the Texans simply had an off quarter in all three games. This time it was the second frame in which they were outscored 20-12. In the second half, Tarleton was outscored by just two, 38-36.

Tyler Jackson carried the Texans on Thursday, scoring a season-high 19 points, just a point short of her career-high. She made 8-of-9 (.889) from the field and added six rebounds.

Faith Acker achieved a double-double, the third of her freshman campaign, with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Elise Turrubiates finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Lexi Bull powered the bench with seven points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes.

The Texans and Ladyjacks shot similarly, with SFA making 25-of-67 (.373) from the field to Tarleton’s 22-of-61 (.361) clip. There were just five three-point makes combined between the two teams. The Texans outrebounded the ‘Jacks 50-36, but turnovers and fast break points (19-0) were in favor of the team from Nacogdoches.

SFA was led by Kurstyn Harden’s 25 points (9-20 FG, 7-8 FT), to go with five rebounds and two steals. Destini Lombard tallied 15 points (7-10 FG), eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals. Kyla Deck added 14 points and two steals.

The Texan defense was on full display to start the game, not allowing the Ladyjacks to score until nearly three minutes in. It was 6-6 midway through the opening frame, and SFA led 12-10 after one.

In the second quarter, SFA forced nine Texan turnovers to just one giveaway, winning the frame by eight. Bull came off the bench to keep Tarleton in it with five points and six rebounds. SFA led at the break 32-22.

It was the same difference after the third quarter, as both offenses picked up in the third. Jackson went for 13 of her 19 points in the frame on 6-of-6 shooting, and Tarleton went 10-of-17 (.588) from the field overall. There were 42 combined points in the third quarter, a 21-21 deadlock, with SFA leading 53-43 at the end.

In the fourth, SFA built as large as an 18-point lead midway through. Tarleton kept their efforts up and never folded, falling by 12 at the end.

The 2023-24 season has now concluded for Tarleton State. Tarleton won their first NCAA Division I conference tournament game and had their second most wins in a season (11) at the D1 level through four years of reclassification.

“I am so proud of the progress this team has made in the last month of the season,” Brock said. “This group has demonstrated a strong work ethic the entire year and we’ve had a number of injuries to overcome throughout the season. Their perseverance was rewarded and allowed us to finish strong in conference play winning three of our last four games and winning a game in the conference tournament. We have a solid core group returning next year and I anticipate a lot of growth from each player during the offseason and summer.”

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