Second half struggles haunt Texans in loss to UNA to begin South Point Classic

TSU Sports Information
Tarleton's Emily Cunningham defends against North Alabama during Sunday's game in Las Vegas.
Escamilla
Cunningham
Kandyn Faurie
Alexa Hoy

LAS VEGAS – Tarleton's first win over a Division I opponent this season remains elusive, the Texans fell 72-57 to North Alabama on Sunday in the first of two games at the South Point Classic in Las Vegas. 

The loss was Tarleton's fourth in five games and third at the hands of a previously winless opponent. The Texans record dipped to 3-5 while the Lions are now 1-6 on the season. 

A cold offensive second half spoiled a golden opportunity for Tarleton inside the South Point Arena. The Texans shot 3-17 in the fourth quarter and 25 percent (8-32) from the field in the second half as the Lions led by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter. 

UNA used a pair of second-half scoring spurts to separate from the Texans, who led 13-12 toward the end of the first quarter and trailed 34-31 at halftime. The Lions began the third quarter on an 8-2 run and ripped off a 19-3 scoring advantage between the third and fourth quarters to take a 64-44 lead over the Texans with 6:44 left in the game. UNA.  

Tarleton led by as many as five points in the second quarter after scoring on its first five possessions to begin the frame.  

A midrange jumper from Kandyn Faurie and consecutive finishes inside by Alexa Hoy, Marissa Escamilla and Emily Cunningham had the Texans out front 22-17 with 5:29 left in the first half. The teams were tied at 31 with less than a minute to play following a left-handed layup by 6-3 forward Callie Boyles and a 3-point shot by Iyana Dorsey. The Lions regained the lead on a buzzer-beater from downtown. 

The Texans forced 16 UNA turnovers and held the Lions to 42 percent shooting and a 7-25 clip from downtown, yet could not capitalize on easy looks inside. Tarleton was outscored 18-2 in second chance points and did not have a player finish with more than three field goals. The Texan combined to finish 9-29 from the field. 

Tarleton gave the ball away 10 times and finished below its turnovers-per-game average (15.2). The Texans' four assists were its second-fewest in a game this season, however. 

Hoy, a Preseason Coaches All-WAC second team selection, paced the Texans at both ends. The senior finished with career-highs in rebounds (9) and assists (4) to go with eight points and two steals. 

Dorsey had 11 points to lead the Texans in scoring for the third time this season. The 5-6 freshman also recorded a team-high three steals. Escamilla chipped in eight points and rebounds off the bench. Escamilla, who tallied 30 combined points in the team's last two games, was 3-13 from the field. 

The Texans deployed their fourth starting lineup combination on Sunday. Senior Kaitlyn Guillory replaced Jayci Morton at guard and Cunningham returned at forward in her second game back from a brief injury absence. Guillory, from Keller, Texas, had a season-high seven rebounds for Tarleton.