Texans win fourth straight, knock off undefeated D-I foe College of Charleston
CHARLESTON, South Carolina – It's one of the biggest victories in program history, but Tarleton acted like they've been there before.
Following the Texans' 69-59 win at the previously unbeaten College of Charleston Cougars, they showed some celebratory emotion, but it seemed like they already had their eyes set on what's next, looking to build on the strong 2021-22 start. That's a glimpse into the program reclassifying its goals as it reclassifies to NCAA Division I.
The Cougars brought the pressure all night, but the Texans were able to break through more than enough in their 10-point win. Tarleton improved to 4-1 (0-0 WAC) on the season with its victory over the Cougars of the Colonial Athletic Association, who dropped to 3-1 (0-0 CAA). It was the Texans' first bout against the College of Charleston all-time, and with it, their first game at TD Arena.
Tarleton is now 4-1 for the third time over the past four seasons. The Texans began 4-1 in each of 2018-19 and 2019-20, posting records of 22-9 and 21-8, respectively, under head coach Misty Wilson.
Looking at some aspects of the box score, it's inconceivable to think the Texans came out with the win, yet alone a double-digit victory. The Texans had 28 turnovers, gave up 22 offensive rebounds, and allowed 28 more field goal attempts than they had themselves. What a testament to the will and ability by this team to get past all of that.
Defense, three-point shooting and getting to the free throw line powered Tarleton Tuesday night. The Texans forced a 26-of-81 (.321) clip from the field, just 4-of-25 (.160) from distance and committed just nine fouls, sending the Cougars to the stripe just eight times. The Texans shot a season-high percentage from the three-point line at .533, making 8-of-15 from downtown.
Jurnee President was the main contributor in the area, beginning the game 4-of-4 from three, finishing 4-of-5. Jenna Dick (2-3 3PT) and Iyana Dorsey (2-4 3PT) had the other three-point makes. Tarleton also took advantage of getting to the line, making 15-of-16 (.938) free throws, their best percentage in a game since Jan. 19, 2019, at West Texas A&M (also 15-of-16).
Dorsey followed up her career-high 23-point performance with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting, plus 7-8 FT. She scored 14 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, going on a one-woman tear to keep the Cougars from making a run. She scored 12 straight points for the purple and white in less than two minutes of action, boosting an eight-point lead to 16. Soon after, the Texans would lead by as many as 19 points.
President finished with 12 points on her four made threes, adding four rebounds and three assists. Malaya Kendrick turned in another all-around effort with 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Marissa Escamilla tallied eight points, seven rebounds and two steals. Seynabou Thiam had four blocks to go with four points and seven boards, while Lucy Benson pulled down 11 rebounds off the bench in 24 minutes.
The Cougars brought the expected pressure from the jump and kept it going for 40 minutes. They average 25.3 forced turnovers per game this year. It put the Texans in a frenzy at the start and gave C of C a quick seven-point advantage. Tarleton clamped down to close the opening frame, allowing just one made field goal in the Cougars' last 11 shots, to be down just three after 10 minutes, 15-12.
The Texans took the lead back with 4:56 to go in the second quarter, 21-20, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. A couple of threes by President and a defensive effort to allow just two points over the last six minutes of the first half put Tarleton in the locker room at the break up 31-22.
It was the bench players in the third quarter who kept Tarleton rolling. The Texans went up by as many as 14 in the frame, 43-29. The Cougars answered with a 10-2 run to make it a six-point game, but that's the closest they'd get in the second half. The Cougars still fought until the final buzzer sounded, but they never really threatened late with the purple and white walking off victorious.
The Cougars were credited with 19 steals, eight by Jenna Annecchiarico and six by Arynn Eady. Peyton Martin led the maroon and gold in scoring with 16 points on 8-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds. Eady recorded a double-double and 4x4 with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 13 rebounds, six steals and four blocks. Annecchiarico also had a 4x4 with nine points, eight assists, eight steals and five rebounds.
Next up, the Texans will head back home to face Western Illinois on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. It will mark Tarleton's first "D1 vs. D1" non-conference home game. The Leathernecks are 4-1 this year, their lone loss coming at Notre Dame in their season opener. All General Admission tickets for the game will be $1. There will be several giveaways, including a TV, wireless headphones, and $200 worth of Amazon gift cards. Popcorn will be only $2 at the concession stands.