BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -
Tarleton Coach Ronnie Hearne is no stranger to this situation.
The TexAnns are going home after one short round of the Lone Star Conference Tournament.
Central Oklahomaís (22-6) Karlie Free hit a jumper with 23 seconds left, then iced the game with a pair of free throws to send the TexAnns (17-11) home after a 72-68 loss in the LSC womenís quarterfinals at Bruin Field House Thursday.
Tarleton is now 0-6 all time in the conference tournament, and 0-5 under Hearne.
Central Oklahoma advanced to the semifinals to play Abilene Christian at noon today.
"It was a very physical game," said Tarleton junior DíAnna Dingler. "UCO came out very strong, theyíre a good team. I thought we handled it pretty well until the end."
Dingler posted 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the TexAnns. She also dished out three assists, staying on the court for the entire 40 minutes.
Tarleton struggled to contain Lizzie Brenner and Cassidy Pillow at the same time. In the first half, Pillow jacked up 16 points, while Brenner posted 9. Pillow was held scoreless in the second half, but Brenner went off for 17.
"Holding her (Pillow) to zero in the second half is pretty impressive," said Dingler. "I think a lot of girls stepped up and did a good job guarding their good players."
Jamie Ansley had a career high 18 points while also grabbing eight boards, despite being in foul trouble. Sonya Sundberg and Cole also had foul worries late in the game. They each finished with four.
"It (the foul trouble) did hurt us," said Hearne. "I looked up there, pretty late in the game, and we werenít even in the bonus. We got fouled, and I asked ĎArenít we going to the free throw line?í It was pretty late and I thought surely we were in the bonus, maybe the double bonus."
Hearne and the TexAnns will look to the off-season and are losing only two seniors, Kendal Reddell and Tara Lisle. The rest of the TexAnns will be suiting up for TSU next fall.
"Iím extremely proud of my team," said Hearne. "I thought our team played with class. They played their hearts out, and it just didnít work out for us."