BARTLESVILLE, OK -
TexAnn Coach Ronnie Hearne has led his team to its fifth Lone Star Conference Tournament in his five-year tenure at Tarleton State.
Unfortunately, all of his other trips have ended after one short round.
Hearne and the TexAnns (17-10), fourth-place finishers in the South Division, look to avoid that fate in this year’s tournament, as they face North champ Central Oklahoma (21-6) at 2:30 p.m. today at Bruin Field House.
“I don’t think you can compare us to last year’s team, or a team four or five years ago,” said TexAnn coach Ronnie Hearne. “Every season, every circumstance, is different. All of those games were on the road with the way the format was set up in the past.”
This is the sixth trip to the tournament in Tarleton’s history, and the women are 0-5 all time.
The Bronchos traveled to Stephenville on January 3 this season, and left with a 62-57 victory. Lizzie Brenner, who was named North Division Player of the Year, posted a double-double with 17 points and 13 boards, while Cassidy Pillow posted 16 points.
The TexAnns will have to find a way to stop Central Oklahoma without the low post presence of Brittnie Haley. Haley has missed the last eight games, and the TexAnns are 4-4 since her injury.
“Losing Brittnie affects the strength of our team,” Hearne said. “She’s one of the top three post players in the whole conference. “It’ll be Krystal Cole and JoAnne Jones (when it comes to defending Brenner and Pillow),” said Hearne. “Everybody (on their team) can shoot and everybody can dribble, but they don’t have a big presence inside. They’re not real athletic. They’re quick and they play hard, but they aren’t real athletic. I feel like we match-up pretty good against them.”
Hearne said he expects a big game from Cole, and said his squad will be pumped up and ready to play, despite the negative records of the past.
“We have to forget about those conference games,” said Hearne. “This is a whole new season.”