SAN ANGELO - A bittersweet ending awaited Tarleton State (17-10, 8-6) at the Lone Star Conference South Division finish line in San Angelo on Saturday.
Bitter because Tarleton overcame an eight-point second-half deficit only to fall to Angelo State (22-7, 9-5), 70-60, in overtime.
Sweet because the TexAnns clinched a LSC Tournament berth earlier in the day when Texas Woman’s fell to South champ West Texas A&M, 66-63, in Canyon.
With the win, the Rambelles finish as the No. 3 seed in the South, and Tarleton comes in fourth.
The TexAnns meet Northeastern State, the No. 1 seed from the North, at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in one of four women’s quarterfinals at Bruin Field House in Bartlesville, Okla.
After coming from behind to force the overtime, Tarleton failed to connect on a single field goal during the extra session while scoring four points from the line.
“We struggled offensively all night - especially inside,” Tarleton coach Ronnie Hearne said. “We missed too many little chip shots from right under the basket. If we’re going to go to the conference tournament and do something, we have to snap out of it (offensively).”
Tarleton center JoAnne Jones, who has replaced the injured Brittnie Haley at center, fouled out late in the second half, magnifying the teams’ problems in the paint in overtime.
Angelo State, meanwhile, mustered up 14 points in the overtime on 60-percent shooting. The Rambelles were also hot in the second half, hitting 43-percent from the floor.
Krystal Cole led the TexAnns with 18 points and 8 rebounds. The junior from Brock took over in the second half to keep Tarleton alive at the end of regulation.
Cole scored seven consecutive TexAnn points early in the second half to knot the score at 48-48.
Later, she connected on a pair of free throws with only .6 seconds on the clock to give the game its regulation final of 56-56.
The TexAnns’ tournament quarterfinal game against Northeastern State will be a rematch of a 54-49 Riverhawk win in Stephenville on Jan. 5
“Every one of those (quarterfinal) games on Thursday should be very competitive,” Hearne said of the first round of action that lies ahead. “I think the No. 4 seeds of both divisions are capable of winning the tournament. That’s how competitive this conference is.”