The defending champions of the Lone Star Conference Tournament stood toe-to-toe with the No. 3 women's basketball team in NCAA Division I and put up a valiant fight in a 122-44 exhibition loss to Baylor at the Ferrell Center in Waco Tuesday.
"There are absolutely some positive things to take away from this game," said Tarleton head coach Misty Wilson. "To be able to score 44 points on Baylor is something that not even every Division I team did against them last year. I went in the locker room and tore up the stat sheet to let them know that we'll bounce back from this and learn from it to move forward."
Baylor entered the contest ranked No. 3 in the latest division I poll, which is the second-highest they've been ranked when hosting Tarleton in an exhibition behind their preseason No. 1 ranking in 2012. The Lady Bears are coming off a 33-4 campaign last year.
The 44 points scored by Tarleton Tuesday were more than 10 of Baylor's opponents last season.
"(My impression of Tarleton) is what it always is: a very good basketball team and a very well-coached basketball team," said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey. "They play within themselves. I respect that program. They come here every year to get better."
Tarleton's first points of the night came on a layup by newcomer McKinley Bostad to even the game at 2-2 in the opening two minutes. After an 11-0 surge from the Lady Bears, Mackenzie Hailey drained her first bucket of the game for the TexAnns' fourth points of the night. The TexAnns scored seven points in the opening quarter and 12 in the second quarter to take 19 points into halftime.
Out of the break, the TexAnns scored five unanswered on a three-ball from Tiara Tatum and a layup from Hailey. Tatum is the only TexAnn on the roster remaining from Tarleton's last trip to Baylor in 2014. Then a freshman, Tatum played five minutes for Tarleton before earning the start as a senior Tuesday night.
Tarleton added 13 more points in the third and 12 in the fourth to bring the game to their final point total.
Every TexAnn on the roster made an appearance in the game, including all five freshmen who made their collegiate debuts - Lucy Benson, Nina Alvarez, Haley Fieseler, Makaila Tyer, and Deziray Turner. Kylie Collins led all TexAnns with eight points while Bostad (6), Tatum (5), Hailey (4), and Katie Webster (2) rounded out the starting lineup. Baylee Peck (5), Benson (4), Alvarez (4), Fieseler (3), and Tyer (3) rounded out the scoring off the bench.
Tarleton will host its final exhibition Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Wisdom Gym as the TexAnns welcome Texas Wesleyan to town. Admission will be free.