The Tarleton State TexAnns (8-3) set out to make a statement against Southeastern Oklahoma State (9-4) Monday.
Namely, that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Lone State Conference. That message came through loud and clear during the team’s dominating 83-63 home win.
“It’s real important (that we won), because we lost our first two (LSC) crossover games,” starting freshman forward Krystal Cole said.
Cole led all scorers with 19 points, including three of four three-pointers. She also had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The strong showing on offense — created in part by a stifling defense — gave the young TexAnns a needed shot of confidence.
“I think we needed a good offensive night to let us know we’re up there with the rest of the conference,” Cole said.
The TexAnns shot 56 percent from the field, including a lights-out 65.2 percent in the first half. They also held Southeastern to just under 30 percent shooting.
Cole, JoAnne Jones and Brittnie Haley all had two blocks.
Katie Crawford scored 17 points for the TexAnns, Sassy Pyburn had 13 and D’Anna Dingler had 10. Tarleton was deadly from downtown, hitting 11 of 18 three-pointers.
Cole scored the first five points of the game, with a jumper from the free throw line and a three-pointer. Southeastern cut the Tarleton lead to one, 6-5, but Crawford fed Haley for an easy layup, Pyburn sank two free throws and Crawford hit a three-pointer to make it 13-5 six minutes into the game.
Pyburn hit Cole with a nice pass on the weak side block to stretch Tarleton’s lead to 10, 17-7. The Savage Storm hit a pair of baskets, but Dingler hit a three-pointer and Shardae O’Neal made a runner in the lane to make it 22-11 halfway through the first period.
Tarleton piled on the points while Southeastern’s shooting woes continued. After the Savage Storm cut the lead back to 10, 26-16, the TexAnns scored nine straight, six from Crawford and a three-pointer from Cole.
Southeastern finally hit a three-pointer, but Dingler answered with one of her own from the top of the key. The TexAnns carried a comfortable 44-30 lead into halftime.
The game was controlled by Tarleton from that point on — in fact, the TexAnns never trailed. They ran their lead up to 26, 80-54, after a free throw from O’Neal.
The TexAnns are set to take on Central Oklahoma there Thursday. Tip off is at 6 p.m.