Texas State outlasted Southern Miss in a defensive slugfest. The Bobcats downed the Golden Eagles, 62-52, in overtime inside Strahan Arena on Saturday. Above, graduate senior guard Tianna Eaton looks to make a pass. Below, graduate senior Da’Nasia Hood gets ready to take a shot against Southern Miss. Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo
OVERTIME THRILLER: Texas State edges out Golden Eagles, 62-52
It was a thrilling defensive slugfest between two of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference as Texas State defeated Southern Miss 62-52 in overtime.
Despite forward Da’Nasia Hood leading the team in scoring with 17 points, this was a complete team effort for the graduate senior.
“It was very important [to get into a rhythm] just so I can be out there and help contribute on both ends to help my team,” Hood said. “We need every player on this team, down to the last on the bench. Getting going, hitting a few shots and opening up the basket, I think it meant a lot to our team today.”
Hood was joined by fellow graduate seniors Kennedy Taylor and Ja’Kayla Bowie who both scored 12 points each in the Bobcats win.
As Texas State battled not only one of the top teams in the Sun Belt but also one of the best defensive teams in the conference, head coach Zenarae Antoine was proud of her team elevating themselves to another level in a high stakes basketball game with the goal of showing who the better defensive team was.
“One of the focuses for this game was amping up and really exerting who the best defense is within the Sun Belt,” Antoine said. “We’ve talked a lot about where we are defensively and how defense can carry you. The offense will matter when you need to knock down big shots but we did a really good job defensively of challenging ourselves and taking it to another level.”
But it wasn’t just the defensive effort that made the difference in the win.
“We saw players lay out on the floor,” Antoine said. “We saw players hustle after the ball. We saw a lot of deflections in a lot of different ways. I like seeing that out of our Bobcat club at home”
As Texas State edges closer towards the end of the regular season, the Bobcats now face the increasing levels of difficulty has the team looks to give Antoine her first conference championship.
“As the season has gone on, we’ve talked about it as a team, not necessarily pressure but adversity,” Antoine said. “I think there’s definitely a high level of confidence in different areas that they have in each other and within our program. When you hit adversity, it’s not something you haven’t seen before. Sometimes you hit adversity that is familiar and we might have a flashback and we struggle but we fight through. But then there’s something new that you haven’t necessarily and how we work together with some sort of resolve is really important.”
But the task is easier said than done.
“The Sun Belt Conference is a tough league,” Antoine said. “You cannot take any games for granted whatsoever. Our team is beginning to understand that. We talked about playing our best leading up to the month of February where we could really get rolling.”
Texas State returns to play Thursday night in a highly anticipated showdown with the Troy Trojans with a shot of tying for the lead in the Sun Belt Regular Season standings.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. from Strahan Arena.