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Bobcats clinch first conference title since 2008

Bobcats clinch first conference title since 2008

Sunday, February 26, 2023

It was a historic night for Texas State as the Bobcats defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 86-79 to clinch a share of the Sun Belt Regular Season Title.

With James Madison losing to Marshall earlier in the day Friday, both Texas State and Southern Miss won their respective games to force a three-way tie for first place.

The shared conference championship marks the first time Texas State has won or shared a conference regular season title since the 2008 season.

With Arkansas State hungry for the upset win, the Red Wolves came prepared for battle as they went back and forth with the Bobcats in the first quarter with neither team taking a lead larger than four points.

Despite the Bobcats holding a 15-14 lead with 1:18 left in the 1st quarter, the Red Wolves went on a brief 4-0 run to retake the lead, heading into the second quarter up 18-15.

An Arkansas State jumper pushed the lead out to 20-15 before a 6-0 run by Texas State had the Bobcats back out in front at 21-20.

Soon the game was tied at 25-25 with 6:40 left in the second quarter following a jumper by senior Lauryn Thompson.

The lead never got bigger than four points once again from either team as Texas State entered halftime up 38-35, as graduate senior guard Kennedy Taylor knocked down two free throws to put the Bobcats back up.

Unfortunately for the Red Wolves, the three point lead was the closest Arkansas State had to retake control of the game.

The start of the third quarter saw Taylor firing on all cylinders by hitting back to back three pointers to give Texas State a 44-35 lead.

Though Arkansas State cut the lead back to just seven at 44-37, an 8-1 run by the Bobcats pushed it back out to 52-38.

The Bobcats failed to relinquish their double digit lead as both teams entered the fourth quarter with Texas State on top at 6046.

Texas State refused to give up their lead as the Bobcats kept the deficit at double digits along with their largest lead of the game of 18 points following graduate senior Tianna Eaton’s three pointer to make it 73-55 with 5:08 left in the game.

Arkansas State made a valiant effort to storm back into the game; it wasn’t enough as Texas State held on for the 8679 win.

Top scorer for the Bobcats was graduate senior Da’Nasia Hood with 18 points, followed by Taylor with 16 points.

Thompson finished third in scoring with 15 points and Ja’Kayla Bowie closed it out with 14 points.

In the three-way tie for first place following the win, Texas State will take the second seed in the Sun Belt Tournament with the Bobcats owning the tiebreaker against Southern Miss and James Madison owning the tiebreaker against the Bobcats.

Due to being seeded higher than fourth place, Texas State will earn a double bye and will not play till the quarterfinals on Friday.

Jakayla Bowie runs the offense during Texas State’s game against James Madison. The Bobcats tied with JMU along with Southern Miss for the Sun Belt Conference Title. Daily Record photo by Colton McWilliams

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