CANYON — The Tarleton State TexAnns lost their second straight road game Wednesday, falling to the No. 13 West Texas A&M Lady Buffs, 78-58.
The Lady Buffs have won their last 28 home games, and are 5-0 in Lone Star Conference South Division play. The TexAnns dropped to 2-2 in LSC South action, and 9-5 overall.
“They’re very good here,” Hearne said of the Lady Buffs.
“We’ve just got to regroup,” he said. “We’ve got to build on this loss.”
Krystal Cole led the TexAnns with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. JoAnne Jones finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Buffs were paced by Natalie Wheeler and Emily Brister, both of whom scored 23 points. Wheeler poured in 21 in the first half, while Brister scored all of her points in the second.
The TexAnns shot just 34 percent from the field, to the Lady Buffs’ 55 percent.
Hearne said his team “just kind of came unglued” after falling behind early, rushing on offense and doing an inadequate job on defense.
Wheeler opened the game with a jumper on the Lady Buffs’ first possession, kicking off what became a big first half for her.
Jones hit two free throws and Sassy Pyburn had a coast-to-coast layup for the TexAnns, who stayed close early. But after Pyburn’s shot, which cut the home team’s lead to two, 6-4, Wheeler hit a pair of 3-pointers and a jump shot.
Kendal Reddell hit a 3-pointer to end the Tarleton drought, but the Lady Buffs scored six straight to take a 20-7 lead with nine minutes left.
A layup by Cole brought the TexAnns within nine points, 22-13, and while Tarleton began to find their stride on offense, the Lady Buffs stayed hot. Wheeler hit another 3-pointer in the final minute before the break, but D’Anna Dingler answered with a buzzer-beating bomb of her own.
The TexAnns faced a 40-23 deficit at the half. They made a run at the Lady Buffs early in the second half, mainly on the strength of Cole’s offense.
Jones had a putback that cut the Lady Buffs’ lead back to 18, 47-29, and Cole had back-to-back layups, the second of which was a three-point play. With about 15 minutes left, the TexAnns were within 13, 47-34.
But the Lady Buffs scored eight straight before Cole hit a 3-pointer. The deficit hung in the high teens, though Tarleton cut it to 15 on a Pyburn 3-pointer.
Yet the next time down, Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer, and the game slipped further out of Tarleton’s reach.
The TexAnns return home Saturday, and will be looking for a “statement win” versus Eastern New Mexico, Hearne said. Tip off is at 6 p.m.